I have a grudging respect for those who take on the system and win. Often I feel it is easier to roll over and play dead rather than pick a fight with civil servants.
The city of Johannesburg instituted a centralised call centre to handle customer queries and complaints. Theoretically this was supposed to make everything more efficient. In reality they should just have said, “Don’t make your problems ours”.
It is easier to speak to your dearly departed relatives than get an answer from 011 375 5555.
Some background to this story may be required so here it is. In my neighbourhood garbage is collected on a Friday. Technically. In reality we wheel out our wheelie bins every Friday morning and there they sit for days and days until all the recyclers have been through them removing paper, plastic and tins. Eventually the truck will come to remove the remainder, but when is anyone’s guess.
A few weeks ago my father-in-law wheeled his bin to the sidewalk and prayed to the powers that be for his garbage to be removed.
It wasn’t. Not on Friday and not on Saturday and not on Sunday.
On Monday the wheelie bin had been appropriated by someone else.
The rules state that only if your garbage is in a wheelie bin will it be removed, but how to replace the wheelie bin?
Easy, call 011 375 5555, sit back and wait. I have no doubt people have actually died on hold with 011 375 5555.
After a week of 4 hour a day on hold, my father-in-law was at his wit’s end. Finally he got hold of a supervisor at the local Pikitup garbage disposal hub who told him he could not remove his garbage or give him a new wheelie bin without a reference number from 011 375 5555.
From there it was a simple matter to load up the garbage in the car, drive it over to the supervisor’s office and place it on his desk.
A new wheelie bin was delivered within an hour.
Now, if I could only find out whom to send a bottle of the raw sewerage pumping out into my garden to, I might have an off-chance of having the problem resolved.
And pigs might suddenly grow wings and fly backwards.