First Look Blog

Articles written by the First Look team.


Confusion Reigns...

Published by Ken Nunes on 21/04/2016


Over the last months, we have been tracking the continual confusion being created as a result of the billing practices of the City of Johannesburg, where a "NEW ACCOUNT" has been created by the Municipality, which incorporates RATES, ELECTRICITY, WATER and REFUSE costs, and where the "existing" accounts (both Electricity and Water) have been CLOSED. Problem is, the schools have not been notified of this change, no bills are being received by the schools and the Municipality sends"contractors" (at some schools every week) to terminate the services for non-payment.
What is curious is the fact that these New Accounts have been created in the name of the GOVERNMENT OF THE GAUTENG PROVINCE, and the schools concerned no longer receive utility invoices.
Of course the invoices are not being paid by Province and COJ then sends contractors to the schools to terminate their utility services.
This may sound absurd, which of course it is. However, it is presently the weekly reality of so many schools in Johannesburg. 
We have been in contact with COJ, trying to resolve the situation on behalf of several schools we represent to discover complete chaos at COJ. The New Accounts are issued by a Special Department where access is extremely limited and where no-one appears to have access to the "system".
Some of the questions the schools ask is quite obvious:
  • How can COJ create a completely NEW ACCOUNT for the utility services of the school and not notified the school of this.
  • If the responsibility for payment of the account is the Government of the Province of Gauteng, why does COJ not harass them (Province) and not the schools...after all, the schools are not receiving the accounts in any case.
  • The fact that payment of RATES for the school building is part of the New Account, does this indicate a change in policy?
  • Why is there so much confusion with regards billing by COJ?
Surely this is not rocket science...