DA processes 4,000 Joburg billing complaints – Maimane

Caucus leader says one ratepayer presented with R518 000 water and electricity bill

Jobs Campaign: DA helps sort out billing problems in Johannesburg

Today (Saturday, August 18) the DA is running a one-stop billing shop to help Johannesburg residents with unresolved billing queries. A number of DA councillors and activists will be at the Marks Park Sports Club from 09:00 to 17:00 to help any members of the public who are experiencing administrative problems with the City of Johannesburg.

All residents and businesses are welcome. Since 09:00 this morning we have already helped hundreds of people and we are expecting several thousand more throughout the day.

The City of Johannesburg has claimed that the backlog of customer queries had been “cleared by the end June”. But the DA is consistently receiving correspondence from a large number of Johannesburg residents who still have unresolved queries from many months ago.

We are giving all these residents an opportunity to come forward and receive the assistance they deserve. Of course, government should be providing a service like this to help people with unresolved billing problems, but since that has not happened the DA will step up to the plate.

The billing crisis illustrates just how destructive government failure can be for people’s lives and for the economy. When bills are inflated, businesses and households have to either pay inflated amounts, or spend time and effort to resolve these incorrect bills. And resolving billing queries with the City of Johannesburg is clearly not an easy process. Many of the people whose complaints we have received have been awaiting assistance for months and months.

And when people and businesses – small businesses in particular – have to spend time fixing their bills, less time is available to go about their normal activities. So, less business is done and fewer jobs are created.

If the DA were elected in national and local government we would do everything we could to create an enabling environment for small businesses to flourish in Johannesburg and elsewhere. That means fixing the billing crisis, cutting red tape, setting up a one-stop shop for business registration to dramatically reduce the time and effort it takes to set up a business and reimbursing small businesses in full for the training they provide their workers.

Today we start by doing what we can to help small businesses and ordinary citizens to resolve their billing queries.

Follow up statement:

ANC in Johannesburg not telling the truth about Billing Crisis

The DA has processed more than 4000 billing complaints from the City of Johannesburg residents in the last five hours. Since 09:00 this morning we have been operating a one-stop shop at the Marks Park Sports Club to assist people with unresolved billing queries.

The massive turnout indicates that the City of Johannesburg’s claims that the crisis has been resolved are simply not true.

The largest bill we have received thusfar is a R 518 000 water and electricity bill. In another case, a working class family was forced to take out a loan to repay their R74 000 water bill.

Any and all complaints we receive today will be taken directly to the City Council by our councillors. Once we have processed all the information we will also be taking these unresolved billing queries to the National Consumer Commissioner and the Public Protector for further investigation.

We will be open until 17:00 today, and everyone is welcome to submit their problems.

Statements issued by Mmusi Maimane, DA Caucus Leader in Johannesburg, August 18 2012

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