Jo'burg service centre near breaking point after employee suspensions
The City employees were suspended after they embarked on an unprotected strike in March.
In spite of bringing in support staff from various other support centres around the city, Thuso House in Braamfontein is dealing with customer queries at a painfully slow rate.
On Tuesday, only seven out of the available 35 customer service stations were staffed with personnel while more than 60 customers waited to be served.
"This city does not care for us," Barbara van der Haar, a 77-year-old pensioner from Bosmont told the Mail & Guardian.
Van der Haar and her 82-year-old husband Vivian claimed they had received no assistance from the City since registering their complaint about alleged overcharging for water in December last year
"We've been here twice this week already, and it's only Tuesday. When we get to the front they can't help us and we have to come back. We're old, we can't keep doing this," she added.
Lack of wage equalisation
Meanwhile, employees claimed they were protesting due to a lack of wage equalisation across various departments, including City Power and Johannesburg Water.
"Even when they were fully staffed here, it was shit," said Darren Sparks from Eldorado Park.
Sparks said he'd been waiting four hours to register a complaint of irregular charges on his electricity and water account after arriving at 7am.
"They pretend to work but all they really do is send you from pillar to post like it's a game. You'll actually waste your time to come here," Sparks added.
Sparks opinion was mirrored by Mondeor resident Tennysson Legeta.
"This whole place should be privatised so that we can get a decent service," Legeta said.
"I lodged a complaint in January and the City has done nothing. They claim to have a quick turnaround time on complaints but it's nonsense. Every time I come here it's a different person and a new process – it's ridiculous."
'Running on skeleton staff'
Johannesburg City spokesperson Gabu Tugwana said it was aware of the problem experienced at Thuso House and were addressing it.
"This is not new. We issued statements saying the Thuso House service centre would be running on skeleton staff until further notice," he said.
"We are doing our best to ensure extra staff is attending to customer queries and have drafted in members from other districts to assist with the shortage."
Tugwana also encouraged Johannesburg residents to utilise other service centres while issues at Thuso House were being resolved.