Not all Joburg residents agree that billing problems are being resolved. The Star’s Metrowatch is inundated daily with e-mails, telephone calls and faxes from aggrieved residents who are receiving massive bills but are unable to sort them out.

Many claim they are told their problems have been resolved, when, in fact, they have not.

l Luizet Ruzow says the City of Joburg has closed her complaint / query number without any resolution at all. “It has now been 14 months since the property was registered in my name, and I still don’t have an account. Every single time I phone they say they will escalate it and I must phone back in three weeks. Their lack of service and response (and their so-called supervisor has not once in the last year been available to speak to me) is getting quite ridiculous now as it has been a year and two months without any resolution at all, and I really don’t know what to do anymore as it is pointless to phone and get the same noncommittal answer month after month after month, for a simple and easy query.

l Ann Araujo says: “My tenant and I have both been charged for electricity. I’ve been querying this since August 2010. I am now trying to finalise transfer on my property and can’t get an answer from anyone. I’ve made literally hundreds of phone calls.”

l Vanessa Connellan says she has now reached a dead end. “I have been patiently visiting the customer centres in Randburg and Sandton for more than two years in an attempt to have my incorrect accounts reconciled, credits refunded and accounts closed. I have suffered my share of verbal abuse from council consultants threatening to throw my paperwork in the dustbin, sending me to the back of the queue for jumping the queue when I hadn’t and accusing me of treating them like they were sleeping on the job!”

l Mary Brodie has been trying since August 2009 to get an electricity reading after her meter box burnt down.

“I have visited the council offices in Randburg about 20 times… Somehow they do not seen to be able to link up the new meter with the account.”