Joburg Advocacy Group (JAG): July 2016

Friday, July 8, 2016

WELCOME

The Joburg Advocacy Group aims to empower residents to take action on their own behalf in matters relating to local government or service delivery, either as individuals or through residents' associations and civil society groups. Please note that, as a small, voluntary group, we are unable to assist with individual complaints or queries. Contact your ward councillor should you need assistance with service delivery matters.

Should you need to log or follow up on a municipal query, complaint or dispute, please refer to the 'Log a Complaint' section in the sidebar for further information. 

The contact information for consumer, government and oversight agencies that may be able to help with various issues facing residents can also be found in the sidebar.

If you would like to know more about simple ways in which to become involved in working for change in the City of Joburg, there is further information in this post. Links to information leaflets for residents and businesses affected by the billing crisis and the city's cut-off campaigns are also available there, as is a link to JAG's document archives

All posts on this site dealing with the billing crisis are tagged 'Municipal Billing Crisis Campaign', and can be accessed from the 'Labels' section in the sidebar. 

BILLING CRISIS STATUS AS AT 1 JUNE 2016:
1. Remember that the City of Joburg cannot discontinue any of your services if you have an unresolved billing complaint, query or dispute. A court order restraining it from doing so was issued on 11 December 2011.

2. We regret to advise that the Public Protector has never released the 'comprehensive report' on the Joburg billing crisis that she personally undertook to supply to JAG four years ago (and then only after repeated requests for intervention over a period of two years prior to that). All follow-up e-mails addressed to her have been ignored. Every time we attempt to follow up on this or ask a consumer journalist to do so, the PP issues a media statement to the effect that the report will be released soon. As at the date of writing, the report has not been released and residents continue to experience on-going problems with municipal billing. 

RESIDENT ALERT: MUNICIPAL BILLING


A landmark case heard recently in Gauteng means that your municipality now has to prove your bill is correct (more here) - it can't just demand that you pay inflated and/or incorrect bills.

"The important precedent set by this case (Euphorbia (Pty) Ltd t/a Gallagher Estates v City of Johannesburg) is that, in meter disputes, it is not the consumer’s responsibility to prove that the charges billed are wrong or based on a non-functioning meter. It is rather the municipality’s responsibility to first prove that the charges are correct and/or based on a functioning meter. Once a consumer has logged a revenue-related query based on justified inferences that the billing is wrong, the burden rests on the municipality to investigate the issue, and the meter, if necessary."

This is a big step forward in dealing with the on-going problem of incorrect municipal bills in the City of Joburg.

Thanks to Schindlers Attorneys for the information.