Hotline still making a difference
From recent statistics it is clear that the Presidential Hotline continues to make a difference to the lives of ordinary citizens, while making government more accessible.
According to the latest statistics, the hotline has an overall case resolution rate of almost 80 per cent, which is a significant milestone since its establishment in September 2009.
Since 31 January 2012, the hotline has logged a total number of 122 589 calls nationwide with the overall case resolution rate standing at 79,89 per cent. This is a major improvement since 2009, when the resolution rate was at 39 per cent.
According to the Presidency, most of the complaints are around housing, unemployment, social services, citizenship, water and electricity, law-related matters and education.
The majority of these calls are from KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Eastern Cape, which is attributed to the population size.
The Presidency attributed the success of the hotline to better coordination at the Directors-General and senior management levels of government. Also, responsiveness reports have been regularised on the agenda of the Forum of South African Directors-General and a periodic item on Cabinet's agenda.
"We are gradually making progress and living up to President Jacob Zuma's promise that citizens will have a platform to communicate with government and get the assistance they deserve," said Minister in the Presidency, Collins Chabane.
"As we have begun with our frontline service delivery monitoring, the hotline provides us with good data about which areas need immediate attention and we will respond."
More call centre agents
On average, it takes 67 working days to resolve a matter that has been recorded with the hotline. However, there are queries which get immediate response, such as requests for information on government services.
To ensure that the hotline operates optimally, the Presidency says it will increase the number of call agents from 20 to 30 as of June this year. This will see an increase to 15 agents per shift operating on two shifts a day.
The Department for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation was now using the hotline to inform its "unannounced Front Line Service Delivery Monitoring visits", the Presidency said, and had begun to engage with departments and municipalities that were often targeted by hotline complaints.
The Presidency said it was aware that there were still a number of citizens who were waiting for responses and that a lot still needed to be done to achieve a 100 per cent call resolution rate. But it was committed to ensuring that every citizen received a response.
Lost and found
The Presidency cited two examples of successful direct responses by the hotline. One relates to divorce attorney Ms Thembisile Dlamini's complaint about delays caused by constant loss of files at the Central Divorce Court in Johannesburg.
On intervention by the Presidential Hotline, the case was referred to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, which intervened immediately. On investigation, it was established that the particular file had been transferred to Vereeniging. The department had the file delivered to the attorney's office, and the attorney was able to proceed with the case.
Paid out in full
The second case involved Ms Thandi Joyce Toso, who had gone to the Department of Labour's offices in Gauteng to find out why she was not getting the money due to her after her husband's death. She was told that her late husband's information did not appear on their system.
On investigation, it appeared that the deceased husband was also married traditionally and had another wife. An investigator from the Unemployment Insurance Fund investigated the matter further with the assistance of the Department of Labour head office, and after the correct documents were submitted at the provincial Department of Labour office, the claim was paid out in full."