South Africa: Mandela Bay Municipal Billing Goes Online
The Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan in Eastern Cape has developed an innovative billing system in an attempt to improve customer service and the collection of revenue. The municipality, which includes Port Elizabeth, said the new system would optimise revenue collection and more money would be available to improve service delivery and infrastructure.
Most municipalities are struggling to collect revenue and customers often complain about incorrect billing and some do not receive accounts. The R46m billing solution, developed by international IT company Fujitsu, allows customers to check and pay their bills online.
Danny Christian, director of revenue management and customer care at the metro, told reporters in Johannesburg yesterday that the system was "up and running" in some parts, but would be fully functional in March next year. He said since the system was implemented in parts of the region, revenue collection had improved. Customers could also report complaints and write queries about their bills online.
Not everyone is optimistic about the new system. Greg Ruiters, director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research at Rhodes University, said this was "some form of a cost recovery exercise". He said it would benefit only the middle class as the poor did not have access to the Internet.
The City of Johannesburg provides residents with online access to services, but residents cannot pay tariffs online.