14 September 2010
While South Africa’s Presidential Hotline has answered over 30 000 complaints from members of the public on various issues of service delivery since its inception a year ago, the Presidency aims to make the service still more effective.
The Presidential Hotline, set up by President Jacob Zuma to give people easier access to the government, handles about 400 cases per week, and has resolved over 30 500 complaints since it was introduced on 14 September 2009, Zuma’s office said this week.
Most of the complaints are around housing, unemployment, water and electricity problems. A major challenge in dealing with the needs of the public was to get quicker responses from government departments and provinces.
One of the satisfied citizens is Fikile Manzini of Mpumalanga, who raised concerns about the lack of water in Pienaar, Kwa-Msogwaba and the construction of RDP houses in her area. The local municipality, Mbombela, intervened and the area now has water, while the building of Manzini’s house has been completed.
Another happy citizen is Lynette Temlett, who had been struggling to get the subdivision of her plot at Ruimsig in Roodepoort registered. She has since written a letter of appreciation thanking the Presidential Hotline for helping with the registration.
Others include service providers who were owed money by municipalities and have now received refunds. The municipalities include Matlosana Municipality in North West, Matjhabeng Municipality and Ngwathe Municipality in the Free State, and Emakhazeni Municipality in Mpumalanga.
Hotline service to be improved
Zuma thanked the public for taking the time to call the Hotline. “We thank those who report anti-corruption allegations as well,” Zuma said. “They will help us in our campaign to ensure clean governance.”
Zuma said he was aware of some of the frustrations members of the public were experiencing in their effort to use the hotline, adding that his office was working on improving the line.
“We will continue working to improve this service, as it is clearly a valuable tool in keeping government in touch, and also to train public servants to take members of the public seriously when they raise issues,” he said.
Directors-general now responsible
To ensure that people get rapid responses on their complaints, the President decided to make directors-general responsible for resolving the queries and complaints in their departments. This is in addition to the assessment that will look at challenges, successes and opportunities to improve the Hotline.
The review, which will be conducted by the Ministry of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, will inform the interventions that need to be introduced to make the hotline more effective.