JUST ANOTHER MUCK-UP BY THE IDIOTIC ANC FAT CATS!
Wobbly billing system a half-finished mess
July 20 2010 at 10:26AM
The City of Joburg's new billing system is still incomplete and is about to cripple the city financially, according to the DA.
The initial cost of installing Programme Phakama, which started in 2005, was supposed to be R265-million and has now risen to R800m.
DA City of Joburg councillors John Mendelsohn and Denis Hunt, who serve on the city's finance and infrastructure committees, claim that not only is the new system a failure, but revenue received by Joburg Water and City Power from their customers has declined in the quarter ending March 31 by 6.7 percent and nearly 20 percent respectively.
The programme was supposed to be complete within 26 months. It was intended to integrate and enhance all the IT systems.
"Five years later, with possibly more to be spent to correct manifest defects, it gives every sign of crippling the city," said Mendelsohn.
The Phakama system, said the DA, seemed unable to process meter-reading data. The result was a city-wide proliferation of residents being billed with interim readings
"Residents are understandably reluctant to pay huge interims. The result is a serious decline in payment levels, which has a negative affect on the city's liquidity," said Mendelsohn.
Unlike the previous Venus system, the new programme could not produce reports for the mayoral committee and the boards of directors of municipal entities such as City Power and Joburg Water. The reports, which should be produced each month, were many months behind, he added.
The statistics on meter reading illustrated that in January, 80 000 electricity meters and 325 000 water meters reflect interim readings.
"Moreover, the migration of data from the Venus system to Phakama makes it impossible to bill interim figures which bear any relationship to a consumer's average consumption of water and electricity."
The council, however, has dismissed the DA claims, stating that most of the facts stated are "wrong, vague, inconsistent and manifest sheer opportunism".
Kgamanyane Maphologela, customer communications for the revenue department, claims the DA statement shows how "freedom of expression is abused with the deliberate intention to tarnish the image of the city".
He said the councillors receive correct reports and updates about the project.
"There was an integration of over a million accounts from the different databases onto a single platform. While the system is being rolled out, some of our customers' accounts have been affected.
"Customers are assured that the city is working around the clock to make sure they receive an up-to-date, accurate, municipal accounts and improved customer care."
Maphologela said the DA's statement that 80 000 electricity meters and 325 000 water meters were billed on interims was incorrect.