Monthly Archives: September 2007

What A Garbage Strike Teaches Us

Today my problems resulting from the Tshwane Municipality’s failure (outlined in all its misery below) were solved by an entrepreneur who travelled the smelly streets of Tswhwane offering to remove garbage for a fee!

So what did I learn?

  • There are entrepreneurs in South Africa – I think this is brilliant although it cost R20
  • The Tshwane Municipality has no clue about customer care either proactively or reactively
  • The Municipality doesn’t have a toll free complaints number – it would cost them a fortune

The Story – its clearly not nitpicking.

Since at least last week Tuesday, Pretoria’s garbage has not been collected. The garbage bins stand overflowing in the streets. Driving past is an experience in stenches.

And still I have received no notification or information from the municipality. Trying to use the complaints line was farcical at the start – long waits / cut offs etc meant we were unable to get any information about why the garbage wasn’t collected.

We eventually heard from friends and saw that there was an 11/09/07 press release on the Tshwane website. This was apparently the first attempt at direct communication.

So today I tried enquiries again and had luck. Seemingly waking someone on the number from the website. When asked when I could expect my garbage to be collected, he was clearly annoyed, said he “didn’t have a clue” and rattled off a number which took several retries to allow me to get it correctly.

Now the only good bit in the story – the lady on the line was totally helpful and seemed unperturbed by what could not have been the first call of the day. I can expect my garbage to be picked up after a 10 or 11 day delay!

So what did I learn?

  • Entrepreneurship does exist amongst South Africans
  • The Municipality has made no attempt to communicate with me about the suspension of service – although they have all my contacts and a meter reader was at my house today and could have dropped a note
  • The municipality’s telephonic communication is not toll free and is really useleswith this. No company would survive with this kind of service
  • There is always a silver lining – the entrepreneur and the lady who gave me information

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