BCM ‘unaware’ of rates bill lag

Residents from certain suburbs around Buffalo City Municipality are fuming at not receiving their rates bills – some since November last year – while the city claims to be unaware of the problem.

Both the Daily Dispatch and the SA Post Office have received numerous calls in this regard. BCM, however, denies receiving any complaints.

City manager Andile Sihlahla said: “The accounts have been issued and delivered to the Post Office every month as usual.”

When Sihlahla was asked if BCM was aware of any issues regarding account delivery, he replied “not at all”.

A long-time resident of Gonubie, Ron Dean, said he has faced this issue before but not for such a long stretch.

“I haven’t received a bill for about four months now. I tried using the online service but it doesn’t work for me. I’ve tried about 10 times and haven’t even been able to register yet.

“I would like to see my bills. When you go to the municipal offices to find out what you owe, they only give you the amount and not a breakdown.

“I need these bills for Rica purposes. For anything that remotely requires Rica, one needs to provide a bill that is more recent than three months.

“I got the runaround when I went to renew my driver’s licence because I didn’t have a recent enough bill.

“I know this issue is affecting a lot of people. I posted on the Gonubie Facebook page and got about 50 replies from people saying they haven’t received their bills either.

“The problem is widespread and we get a total lack of explanation from the useless municipality,” said Dean.

The Daily Dispatch received numerous complaints in the form of both phone calls and e-mails from residents saying they hadn’t received their municipal accounts.

Many of these complaints have come from the Beacon Bay and Vincent areas.

DA ward 28 councillor Marion Mackly said it seemed to be “an ongoing problem all over the city” with certain “pockets” being most affected.

Mackly said it may be because the municipality’s billing section might have changed the system it was using and subsequently accidentally dropped people’s names off their billing list.

SA Post Office head of delivery management in the BCM area Moyisile Goduka said: “The SA Post Office is contracted to deliver the BCM accounts. The accounts are received in batches and delivered as soon as they are received.

“The local Post Office branch has received some complaints from residents of various areas, and when the mail batches were monitored, it was found that the consignment of mail received for some areas are at times far less than the actual number of houses in these areas. The complaints have always originated from these areas.

“The local mail processing unit of the Post Office monitors the complaints and makes the municipality aware there are complaints.”

To apply for your account online visit: Have your account number handy.

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