Today, I led a march to the City’s Billing Department at Thuso House in Braamfontein, where I handed over a petition signed by over 3000 residents calling for the failing billing system to be resolved, to the MMC for Finance, Cllr Matshidiso Mfikoe. See pictures here, here, here and here.
For many years, the City of Johannesburg’s billing system has been plagued by countless shortcomings and failures. Many residents have received incorrectly bloated bills while having to wait years for their accounts to be adjusted. On the other hand, while some residents continue to pay their bills, they simply do not get value for money, with constant water and electrical outages across the city.
The culture of non-payment has also been a hurdle for the billing department. Revenue collection for any municipality is critical to fund much-needed basic services. Some residents have simply refused to pay for their rates and levies out of protest against a failing billing system that creates a further burden for them.
With less revenue collection, rates and levies are becoming more expensive to compensate for the loss, adding further pressure to a shrinking ratepayers base.
Increased rates also place further pressure on struggling businesses. While they pay their rates, they too face outages or shortages of basic services, putting their economic survival at further risk. This can only lead to the decline of the business, and resulting in unnecessary job losses.
The administrative malfunction of the City’s billing system is the catalyst of other service delivery failures across Johannesburg. The domino effect is felt by residents and businesses. The weak cybersecurity of the billing department is also of great concern, with the system remaining vulnerable to any future attacks.
With the right leadership and political will, Johannesburg can work for the residents. The recent past has shown that the ANC has neither while the DA certainly has both. The ANC has shown time and time gain that under its watch, residents are destined for little more than frustration and failed systems.
A DA governed Johannesburg on the other hand will fix the City’s billing system once and for all. Increased oversight over revenue collection will be implemented, so that the culture of non-payment is eradicated, and that more revenue is allocated to basic services so that residents can finally get value for money. The DA-led Johannesburg will also ensure that all billing queries are resolved within seven days, so that residents no longer have to deal with an unnecessary, stressful, administrative delay that is of no fault of their own.
The DA will get things done in the City of Gold.