Since the Presidential Hotline was launched about two years ago, more than a third of the queries were from KwaZulu-Natal residents. Most of the queries had been attended to immediately and solved within the required time, says the province's Director-General, Mr Nhlanhla Ngidi.
Ngidi says the Public Liaison Unit in the Premier's Office has been working flat-out with the officials of the hotline to speedily resolve queries lodged.
"Immediately after President Jacob Zuma launched the hotline in September 2009, we ensured that the Public Liaison Unit in the Office of Premier Zweli Mkhize became fully functional."
He said it was not surprising that more than 29 per cent of the calls or queries made to the Presidential Hotline came from KwaZulu-Natal. Based on the 2001 Census figures, KwaZulu-Natal had the most people residing in it when compared to the other eight provinces.
Being a mainly rural province, it had been expected that there would be a flood of calls because of service-delivery challenges. These include the provision of clean and safe drinking water, roads, educational and health facilities in most of the district municipalities.
Of the more than 280 municipalities in South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal is home to more than 50 local municipalities and 10 district municipalities as well as one metropolitan municipality.
“It is a given that based on the population distribution numbers, KwaZulu-Natal would have more calls to the Presidential Hotline, but we have not been sitting idly as proven by the high rate of cases that were resolved.”
Ngidi said the Public Liaison Unit in the Office of the Premier encouraged members of the public to report cases in person at the unit’s office in Pietermaritzburg.
“We are working with both local and district municipalities to make more funds available to set up liaison units in the offices of the mayors so that we can improve on our turnaround time when attending to queries,” Ngidi said.
“We hope the sooner liaison units are set up at municipal level, the better will be our coordination so that we remove more pressure from the Presidential Hotline. We hope these liaison units at municipal levels will have walk-in facilities to enable members of the public to personally report their problems,” he added.