Do you have an issue or complaint about a state run institution, government department or service delivery; or simply would like to ask a question. Why don’t you consider calling the President to air your views.
All South Africans can dial 17737 (toll-free from a landline) to get through to a call centre at the President’s office with questions or gripes pertaining to government service delivery. Some callers may possibly end up talking to Jacob Zuma himself!
Callers have a choice of being assisted in a number of languages, and calls are recorded and logged for quality, tracking and monitoring purposes. The call log assists the Presidency to keep an eye on turnaround times and in addition collect information and facts – to inform them, for example, which government department draws the most complaints.
The service is operational between 7.30am and 10pm, and has 21 well-informed hotline agents, supported by 43 public liaison officers, specialized in resolving inquiries.
Each government department and every province has assigned a public liaison officer to assist in handling enquiries that cannot be resolved by the Presidency alone.
Speaking to Zuma
Numerous callers could possibly be fortunate enough to talk to the President himself. Zuma has a direct link to a web-based platform where by he is able to take calls directly, dependant upon his schedule and when he is in his office at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
Zuma revealed that he intended establishing a public liaison unit, which would incorporate a toll-free hotline to deal with public inquiries, as part of the initiatives to move towards a “more interactive government”.
Deputy director-general in the Presidency Vusi Mona pointed out the fact that Zuma had attached a great deal of value to dealing with each inquiry as if it was the only one, and following it through all channels until such time as it received the attention it deserved. “This project is extremely close to the heart of the President. It’s one of his pet projects,” he was quoted saying.
Mona stated the hotline would likely turn into a key service delivery improvement instrument and monitoring and evaluation tool, which was of importance to the administration.
“The President has established that this is simply not a public relations exercise, but forms part of the government’s efforts to modify the way it operates.”
Zuma’s word of advice
Zuma spent time at the centre on its first day of operation to provide some words of advice to the call centre agents.
“You may possibly receive calls from extremely angry people, who would have been provoked by your colleagues from other departments,” Zuma pointed out. “Remain calm, patient and most of all be gentle and human. You are going to take care of a considerable amount of problems if you remain human and steer clear of being technical.”
Zuma added the fact that portion of the call centre agent’s job was to enhance the government’s image. “We want individuals to have the capacity to tell us precisely what their issues are with service delivery, to ensure that we are able to assist directly.”
He urged the staff to function together to eradicate the stigma that makes people believe just about anything from the government is bad or is of inferior quality.
“You are the frontline of government communications and citizen care and support,” Zuma explained. “Smile when you take those calls, as people can feel your mood wherever they are.”