The Democratic Alliance (DA) in eThekwini Municipality has been calling for officials and city management to implement a WhatsApp reporting line similar to that of the water department, in critical departments for some time now. Essential services departments, like Metro Police, Electricity and the Parks, Recreation and Culture Unit (PRC) would greatly enhance their service delivery if this method of communication was adopted.
Regrettably, when the DA tabled a formal motion to eThekwini’s council last year, the ruling party voted against it, without any substantive reason.
The DA Councillors had, at the time, improvised with an app called Pro-Active citizen, which residents and Councillors could use to effectively and speedily report most municipal issues. The DA notes now, that eThekwini Municipality has generated a similar application and released it in October 2019.
A WhatsApp reporting line will enable residents to log complaints and get a reference number, speedily, without any inconvenience, instead of being subjected to a lengthy, infuriating wait when attempts are made to phone through a complaint.
Residents suffer prejudice in the interim, whilst the municipality prefers to use outdated ineffective methods of communication. As noted this week, telephone lines, emails and call centres collapsed. This is an occurrence whenever the city experiences a severe storm.
The WhatsApp facility will certainly provide a more reliable and streamlined method of communication for electricity and PRC. The PRC unit has its own set of challenges as no reference numbers are generated when faults, complaints or queries are reported to officials or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The DA, therefore, calls on the city manager to speedily, investigate the feasibility of implementation of WhatsApp systems for all essential services departments in eThekwini Municipality.