Johannesburg residents receive bills via SMS

If Johannesburg residents have ignored the SMSes they have been getting from the City of Johannesburg offering to send your monthly municipal bills via MMS, they will find themselves getting their accounts only every three months.

The city started implementing a new billing system last week which sends out monthly statements via SMS, but it has failed to inform residents about it.

From last Monday, residents started receiving 'talking SMSes' on their cellphones, offering this new service. However, most were unaware of what it was and, believing it to be spam, deleted it.

So, for the next three months, during the trial period, they will still get their invoices every month in the normal manner, but thereafter, if they ignored the original SMS, they will be presumed to have accepted the new system. They will then get their statements SMSed to them every month and then get a posted or e-mailed statement only every three months.

Those who received the SMS and opted not to accept the offer of SMSed bills, were reply via SMS.

Those who don't want to spend R1 responding, can phone the call centre to opt out.

If residents opt to receive the SMS bill, they will get their statements this way every month, and by e-mail or post only every third month, depending on which option they are currently on.

The city says that it has changed to the SMS system 'to take the environment into consideration by introducing a 'going green' initiative'.

Kgamanyane Maphologela, the City of Joburg revenue department spokesman, said: 'This initiative... will allow the city to send municipal statements via MMS. We strive towards better customer-centricity by providing our customers with a value-add.'
The DA has said it welcomed this new system as it is in keeping with the 2040 Growth and Development strategy of making the city green and smart.

'So in principle, the idea is wonderful, but one must question why this sudden and radical change was made without any public announcements in the media.'

The Star

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