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News : Presidential Hotline Makes Progress
Feb 2, 2014 -- The resolution of cases sent to the Presidential Hotline established by President Jacob Zuma in 2009 by members of the public has increased from 39% in 2009 to 94% in 2014.
The Presidency has been reviewing progress made by the Hotline since its establishment.
In his State of the Nation address on 3 June 2009, President Jacob Zuma stressed the importance of a government that is responsive, interactive and effective.
The Presidential Hotline was thus established to assist citizens to resolve queries relating to government services, especially in cases where calls to local authorities or national departments were not yielding results.
More than 180 000 cases have been logged between 2009 and 2013.
The President is pleased with the progress made by the Hotline as it is meant to provide an ear and assistance to citizens who are frustrated and need help.
"We are truly pleased that this instrument has made a difference in the lives of many people. We have been impressed by all spheres of government to sharpen up citizen care mechanisms and ensure that the queries brought by the public are attended to. We must continue to build a caring government," said President Zuma
Of the 46 932 cases referred to national departments, the Departments of Home Affairs, Human Settlements, Labour, Justice, South African Social Security Agency and Social Development can be singled out as departments that receive high volumes of queries, but have consistently been performing well in terms of responsiveness.
Departments dealing with high numbers of cases that have shown significant improvements in the period 31 January 2012 to 31 January 2013 are: Rural Development (improved from 56.92% to 83.02%), South African Police Service (SAPS) (improved from 47.25% to 80.74%), Correctional Services (improved from 41.25% to 98.68%), and Public Enterprises (improved from 65.02% to 99.01%).
All provinces improved their case resolution rate from inception in 2009 to present, provinces improved by 30% and national departments by 20%. However, this improvement is from a very low performance base of 64% in 2009. all provinces now have a resolution rate of 80% and above (the minimum target set for performance) except for NW province now at (74.79%) and E Cape province (now at 78.58%). The provinces with the largest number of complaints still to be resolved are KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Eastern Cape and North West prov ince. The provinces with the lowest number of complaints still to be resolved are Free State, Limpopo, Northern Cape and Western Cape.
"It is encouraging that the resolution rates of these provinces is improving month-on-month. I asked Premiers to treat complaints management as a priority issue and they have responded well,' the President added.
The presidential Hotline does not only want to achieve high resolution rates, but also strives to provide a good quality of service to citizens. To assess how citizens view the service they receive from the Hotline, regular satisfaction surveys are done, To date more than 11 000 citizens participated in the surveys (more than 30 000 citizens were called but many are not contactable on the contact numbers they provided to the Hotline). Of the 11 000 surveyed, on average 65% of citizens rated the Hotline service good to fair and this rating varies between departments. For example, citizens rated the Hotline service related to Home Affairs cases with a high 78% satisfaction, whilst the lowest satisfaction rating for a department was 51%.
Regular analysis is done of the types of complaints received and the responsiveness of departments in solving the complaints. These issues are reported to Cabinet at least twice a year. The matter is also periodically brought before Premiers and local government representatives, during the meetings of the President's Coordinating Council with Premiers and the SA Local Government Association.
Some citizens call the Presidential Hotline seeking information on government services, such as acquiring an identity document, applying for a grant, or information on available services in a given area. These cases are resolved immediately or within a day by the call agents themselves. In cases that require resolution by specific departments, or where detailed information is required the call is allocated to the responsible department.
"There are certain instances where the Presidential Hotline is not able to resolve issues. These include calls regarding unhappiness with the outcomes of legal proceedings - in the courts as well as the outcomes of disciplinary and dismissal proceeding. In these cases it is not possible to satisfy the callers as the Presidency cannot overrule the decisions of the courts. We urge the public to understand the difficulties in this regard,'' said Minister Chabane, whose Department manages the Hotline.
The Hotline team provides facilitation and coordination support where issues involve more than one government department.
President Zuma said the role of the Hotline remained critical. "We are happy that many national and provincial departments as well as local government structures have established mechanisms of dealing with queries from the public. We want to build a caring society and a public service which treats people with compassion and courtesy. We will continue working hard to build a caring public service to reduce frustration and helplessness that people sometimes experience when they believe that doors are closed to them," said President Zuma.
In addition to the primary function of resolving problems, the Presidential Hotline provides valuable monitoring data and insights into the concerns of citizens and the information collected is used to improve service delivery.
Improvement in citizen satisfaction is an output in the Outcome 12 delivery agreement and improving the Presidential Hotline case resolution rate is a priority initiative in the Forum for South African Directors General plan for improving the way government works
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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