Joburg to stop unfair cut-offs

2011-02-21 22:12

Johannesburg - The City of Johannesburg said on Monday that it would suspend disconnections if residents could prove that they had been over-billed.

"If the city finds or is presented with evidence to suggest that specific accounts are inaccurate or problematic, on a case-by-case basis it will suspend cut-offs until the issue is resolved," said spokesperson Stanley Maphologela.

Protesters, led by DA councillor David Dewes, handed over a memorandum of demands to a representative of the city's finance department on Friday.

The small group of residents danced and sang outside the city's customer service centre in Braamfontein.

They were protesting about over-billing, sometimes by hundreds of thousands of rands, followed by disconnection if the bills were not paid.

Maphologela said the city's receipt of the memorandum proved its commitment "to listen to the views of our residents and to respond to issues they raise".

"We will also keep residents updated on the steps taken to correct problems."

Lombardy East resident Evert Kleynhans said he received a bill for R35 000 last year. When he didn't pay it the municipality cut off his electricity.

"Because the electricity was cut off, my automated gate stopped working. I was hijacked the one night while getting out of my car to open the gate manually."

Roodepoort resident Mike Naidoo said he received a bill that began at R15 000 late in 2009 and eventually accumulated to R197 000 this month.

"I have complained so much to the city that I now have 17 reference numbers, where do I go from here?" he asked.

Martini Marica, a Kensington resident, said she received a bill for R28 000 in September last year.

"I went to my husband and I said 'Is this a joke?'. I carried on paying every month what we usually paid which was about R800 but then in January I got a bill for R48 000."

Maphologela said the city had implemented a "proactive process of calling customers in an attempt to resolve their queries".

The city also promised that it would give feedback "on how the matter is being investigated and how it will be resolved" to any residents who lodged complaints.

It remained "open and willing to talk to all our citizens on billing and other relevant city matters".

This said, the city reminded residents that collecting revenue was a critical task in maintaining a functional city.

"Accounts that are unpaid or in arrears put an unfair strain on the city and its loyal paying residents," said Maphologela.

  • JohnDough - 2011-02-21 22:50

    Quote: "The City of Johannesburg said on Monday that it would suspend disconnections if residents could prove that they had been over-billed." Exactly how must we prove this? They should be proving to us accurate accounts for prompt payment. Maybe they should give us complete access to the billing systems and then we will see how chaotic it really is. Idiots, they are as useful as tonsils. A working billing system was in place until the new regime came to power and since then it has been a nightmare and a sense of self-entitlement and enrichment to the detriment of all and sundry, maybe SA needs an “Egypt” type revolution. Gatvol is putting it mildly.

  • Nostril - 2011-02-21 23:15

    Welcome to Efrika.

  • Grunt - 2011-02-21 23:21

    Surely, the idiots at the Municipality could institute a proactive process by which they switch on their tiny brains before they arrive at the workplace! A simple process built into any computer will alert them to overestimated accounts of this magnitude and prevent the considerable stress they are causing the residents of their city. It is not the unpaid or arrear accounts causing strain to its loyal paying residents but the incompetence and the brainless behaviour of the city’s officials.

  • Houston - 2011-02-21 23:34

    yeah right, "open & willing" and "promised to give feedback". What a load of absolute cr@p. I have been chasing these idiots for more than a year to fix my account and have not even had a response from the clowns. The only feedback I expect is "eaysh, i deeeemand"!!!

  • laura - 2011-02-21 23:53

    Maphologela is quoted as saying;"Accounts that are unpaid or in arrears put an unfair strain on the city and its loyal paying residents,"" would that include the thousands of illegal connections that are made in the "townships""?

  • Burtfred - 2011-02-22 01:46

    "Accounts that are unpaid or in arrears put an unfair strain on the city and its loyal paying residents," said Maphologela. No sir, it's not the residents who are putting an unfair staring on the City, it is the regiment of fat, lazy incompetent cadres that are employed by the City that are doing that.

  • La Volpe - 2011-02-22 04:21

    The fact that you have no comments on this story should tell you lots of what people think of your website

  • Gavin - 2011-02-22 06:43

    I received a R16 000 bill in November after generally receiving a R2000 bill every month, it's now paid but can anyone tell me how I go about getting my money back as it was obviously wrong?

  • Batman - 2011-02-22 06:46

    this is the siso system.You put sh1t in and you get sh1t out.Don't blame the software,blame the people who implemented it.they are all a bunch of useless prawns.Fire the lot especially the ars%423 of a mayor who says there is no problem.perhaps he needs a white stick or a dog,who knows.Save him from himself.

  • ElCapitano - 2011-02-22 06:59

    Think you guys could include a link or a phone number as to where we can get more info? Google returned nothing and neither did the joburg website

  • Had-Enough - 2011-02-22 07:19

    Please explain to me how in most of the townships these people 'jack' into overhead power lines - score FREE electricity and nothing gets done about it? But honest tax payers, bill payers etc get continuously raped and taken advantage of? There is something seriously wrong with this country.

  • WHAT A JOKE - 2011-02-22 07:21


  • terry - 2011-02-22 07:23

    I can see a very simple solution - every month simply run a report that calculates the average of the last 6 months bill for each account - then if the next bill for that account differs by more than 50%, there should be an automatic investigation to determine the cause. You would then pick up these errors before instituting expensive procedures to cut off electricity unnecessarily. But then again, if you did this, then all of those ANC buddies who have the disconnection companies wouldn't get their ill-gotten money for diconnecting and reconnecting people's electricity supply.

  • ian - 2011-02-22 07:36

    Why the hell should the house holder have to prove aything. It is the councils job to get their systems right. This government continous to try and place the responsibility on everyone else. They are incompetent. Prosecute the mayor on ciminal charges arrogant a!!!h!le.

  • Magger - 2011-02-22 07:37

    How do you prove that you are overbilled? You normally have an account of between R800-R1300 and all of a sudden it is R28 000 for one month? What did you do? Plug in all the neighborhoud appliances at once through your DB box and had a massive party all month long? Come on JHB - catch a wake up - you are as bright as the lights you switch off.

  • Conrad - 2011-02-22 07:43

    So you'll have to prove that it is irregular?? On what basis will this be judged? Who has the power to do so? This is nothing more than a press release, no action will follow.

  • WTF - 2011-02-22 07:47

    "Accounts that are unpaid or in arrears put an unfair strain on the city and its loyal paying residents," said Maphologela - Cheeky little f#@ker considering the sircumstances

  • Marcus_GP - 2011-02-22 07:57

    Joburg - A world class city......need i say more...

  • pretoria - 2011-02-22 08:03

    employ people who knows what customer service stand for. stupid BEEE.

  • Brett Pretorius - 2011-02-22 08:14

    This is all just talk to calm people down. I am seeing one of the directors at City of Joburg this morning regarding the same kind of incidence as above. I have been devoting a couple of hours a day to this problem for over 7 weeks. I am not confident that it will get sorted today either. All of the City of Joburg top officials need to be replaced.

  • Clive - 2011-02-22 08:31

    Come on white population we are now hundreds of thousands unemployed - lets do something lets now take to the streets in protest, the time to protest is long overdue. We must stand as one black and white. We must rid ourselves of this incompetent bunch.

  • goose - 2011-02-22 08:32 is now up to the customer to PROVE they do not own that money! Very mature, Mr have a record of the average consumption for the last 20 years yet the customer must now prove he did not use R48 000 worth of water and electricity last month! The JHB council is manned by a big bunch of useless turds!...and run by the biggest one.

  • Shorts - 2011-02-22 09:42

    I have an account from the City of Jhb which has been in dispute ( my term. not theirs ) for well over six months. I have phoned, faxed and e-mailed through both a detailed reconciliation and explanatory letter, as well as sending copies of each by registered post, to this seemingly incompetent, inefficient & non-communicative (dis)organisation almost every month, but to date there has been no acknowledgement, no response, no feedback nor any corrective action of any sort. I, like many others I am sure, will only start to believe in these 'promises' once we see something constructive actually happening to address & resolve the issues concerned. Personally, I would love to see the DA running this council. Maybe, with the local elections coming up soon, we can collectively vote these current (mal)administrators out of office.

  • AQUARIUS - 2011-02-22 09:58

    Maphologela-Johannesburg a funcional city?You have to be joking!Do you even know what the meaning of "FUNCTIONAL" is??

  • BBB - 2011-02-22 10:05

    How pathetic since when should the customer have to prove...its the suppliers duty to see that they supply a proper service for which they are being paid.The suppliers stupidly pathetic answers of "pay the account "and then dispute it is "FRAUD" when the law works!!!!people in this country are being held to ransom by incompetent suppliers in all industries. BBB...BU....BAFFELS...BRAINS

  • Concerned - 2011-02-22 10:17

    I have to submit some forms to my bank one of which one has to be an up to date utility bill - but the last one I received was in November 2011. Phoned COJ - "it could take up to a year...." What now? You have to do RICA, FICA etc…… but you cannot get an account - SAPD affidavit?? Feeling sorry to someone that is in the process of selling or buying a house……

  • zane - 2011-02-22 11:46

    this imbecile cannot use his one brain cell to figure out that the people that are trying to query their accounts are the residents who actually want to pay for things vs the townships where they just hook up their shack to the nearest pylon

  • Mutahi - 2011-02-22 12:28

    People trust the city of Johannesburg to read their meters right and bill them at the published rate. Now would a resident have to keep track of their meter readings and furnish these to City of Johannesburg for billing? Clearly that would be a total breakdown of trust between the resident and the service provider. In another situation one would change the provider, however if the provider is a monopoly, then lack of trust means lack of service or comply with the provider. So the city of Johannesburg cannot audit themselves to identify if the said errors are genuine and are now relying on the residents to help in their audit?. This is nonsense. I don't own a property in Johannesburg but I feel for the residents who are left without options. Where is the public protector? or do they also read from the same script?

  • ,jesus1,,I'm considering moving into the townships to enjoy free electricity from illegal connection anybody interested let - 2011-02-22 14:37

    ,jesus1,,I'm considering moving into the townships to enjoy free electricity from illegal connection anybody interested let's hook up.,SUBMIT

  • Anna-Marie Venter - 2011-02-22 21:04

    Battling with my account since 17 September 2009. I have pre-paid but get charged and estimate each month. Then the water meter is outside and they also estimate that usage. Pathetic.

  • Mel B - 2011-02-23 09:34

    About 2 months ago I saw the "meter reader" in the street and calle dhim over and asked why he is not reading my meter. He then showed me the list and stated my house is not on the list, therefore he can't read the meter. No wonder everyone is receiving inflated bills because the 1st line servcie provider is failing.

  • pages:
  • 1