Jozi Begins Tech Journey Towards Being A Smart City

Johannesburg residents can now pay their bills and access municipal customer services online after new mayor, Mpho Moerane, on Wednesday launched the much-anticipated e-Joburg portal.

The portal will see residents experience the convenience of accessing municipal customer services online.

The mayor, who launched the portal alongside the project owner, Member of the Mayoral Committee for Finance, Cllr Matshidiso Mfikoe, said the portal was a milestone step towards transforming Johannesburg into a Smart City.

“The e-Joburg portal is a new tool designed for the delivery of smart municipal services in the most convenient way for Johannesburg residents,” said Moerane.

“It is set to drive automation and self-service that is aimed at reducing the time and manual workload on the city’s personnel and resources that goes into customer service.”

The mayor said e-Joburg is part of the city’s long-term Growth and Development Strategy – the GDS 2040 to become a Smart City.

“Inspired by our slogan – A World Class African City, the portal is a platform that the City will build on to become Africa’s leading Smart City,” said Moerane.

“This is especially the case as the portal brings convenience that will see ratepayers and other municipal customers electronically interact with the City in their comfort zones – using either a computer, a cellphone or tablet.”

Moerane said the e-Joburg portal is just the beginning of using innovative ways that offer convenient customer services.

“More is yet to come as we continue exploring improved ways to better serve residents,” said the mayor.

“As of today, the City’s residents, especially ratepayers, can register and be authenticated on the portal to start viewing and transacting on their municipal accounts.”

The Mayor encouraged Johannesburg residents to try the payment services on the portal for their municipal accounts, which are secured and integrated with banking infrastructure.

Speaking during the launch, Moerane also pointed out that the e-Joburg portal was designed and developed using technology and processes that were well proven and recognized worldwide.

“This provides the additional confidence that our e-Joburg portal is convenient, secure and user friendly,” said Moerane.

“It even allows customers to lodge complaints and queries online from the comfort and convenience of their homes or office 24 hours a day, including Sundays and public holidays.”

MMC Mfikoe said more services would be introduced in phases.

The Smart Online Bill Management for residential customers, government, companies and managing agents was just the beginning, Mfikoe said.

“This is the first phase that allows customers to receive, manage and pay their municipal accounts from the comfort of their homes or office. No more standing in long queues,” said Mfikoe.

“The portal is set to not only improve service delivery, but to also boost revenue collection while lowering administrative costs,” she said.

“The next phase of the e-Joburg portal is set to add an electronic meter reading enabler – ending residents’ frustration with estimated meter readings.

“Ratepayers will be able to electronically capture their water and electricity readings that will be used to create their bills.”

“This means accurate billing and thus a subsequent improvement in happy customers and increased levels of payment. Meanwhile the ratepayers’ transaction on the e-Joburg portal is managed by a built-in intelligence system that monitors false and manipulated meter reading entries,” she said.

Mfikoe said she was confident that the portal will substantially improve the billing process.

“In addition to all these convenience public benefits offered by the portal, we anticipate the inclusion of a low-cost WhatsApp capability in the next phase of the roll-out of the portal service,” she said.

“Ratepayers will be able to view bills, make payments and submit meter readings on this social media platform.”

Mfikoe said these developments will be in addition to more automation, integrated query logging and resolution, applications, and payment arrangements, among other services.