Sept 2011

Your Hotline questions answered

Presidential Hotline

When was the Presidential Hotline established?

In his State of the Nation Address on 3 June 2009, President Jacob Zuma announced his plan to establish a Presidential Hotline to improve access of members of the public to government.

The Hotline was opened on a pilot basis on 14 September, and officially launched on 7 October 2009.

What is a public liaison officer (PLO)?

PLOs are government representatives at national, provincial and local government level, who attend to calls and provide feedback to callers. All calls relating to service-delivery issues are routed to the PLOs for investigation and for providing feedback to the caller.

How does the Presidential Hotline work?

All calls from the public to the 17737 number are received at the State Information and Technology Centre (SITA) in Centurion near Pretoria (which is the first line of support). They are then screened and general enquiries are attended to and resolved immediately. The calls are logged onto the call logging and tracking platform. Callers are provided with a reference number so that they can follow up if necessary.

Calls that cannot be resolved at the first line (Call Centre at SITA) are transferred to the second line located at the Union Buildings or are assigned to third-line support which is public liaison officers (PLOs) in the relevant ministries or premiers’ offices). These people are responsible for finding solutions to the complaints and reporting back. Throughout this process, progress is monitored through the logging and tracking system.

The public liaison function in The Presidency (second line) deals with correspondence that is received by fax (086 681 0978), e-mail (, via the website (, social networks (Facebook and Twitter) or that is delivered by hand.

What are the hours of operation?

The first-line support at SITA is open from 6 o’clock in the morning to 10 o‘ clock at night on weekdays (excluding public holidays). The second- and third-line support operates during normal business hours.

How long does each call take?

The average time taken to log a call is about 15 minutes, reduced from an initial average of 19 minutes.

Who should use the Hotline?

Ordinary citizens and entities that have been failed by the public service, and have no direct access to authority can use the Hotline as a last resort.

Who should not use the Presidential Hotline?

Service providers and individuals who receive payment for the services they render.

Does the Hotline charge a fee for its service?

No, the Presidential Hotline is a government service that is offered free of charge to all who use it.

Does the Presidential Hotline deal with government issues alone?

Most of the queries are government related, but the Presidential Hotline does not turn anyone away. On matters that are private and legislative, the Presidential Hotline will help to refer clients to someone who can help them.

Why should the Presidential Hotline be used as a last resort?

The Presidential Hotline and public liaison service does not replace the existing hotlines and public liaison facilities of departments, provinces or municipalities. It is intended to be used as a last resort, where other systems have failed.

Are queries formally referred to the respective provinces for further action?

Yes, queries that cannot be resolved at the first line are referred to provinces as soon as they are received.

It is the responsibility of the relevant provinces and departments to attend to those queries and to ensure that they are resolved.

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