In the endeavor to increase communication platforms and improve offerings, the City of Tshwane has introduced ‘e-Tshwane’, an online service that allows homeowners, companies, property managing agents and tenants to interact by means of a device or electronic equipment with the City of Tshwane metropolitan municipality at their convenience.

Residents and businesses should save the number 087 153 1001 on their phone and WhatsApp the word “Hi” to access this service from the comfort of their home or office. The application uses end-to-end encryption to guarantee privacy when engaging with the City.

For this mobile instant messaging application, accessibility and expediency customers may visit http://www.e-tshwane.co.za to register for e-Tshwane and to access a variety of information.

The WhatsApp service chat platform is operational with immediate effect, through registering on WhatsApp allowing the municipality to share, in confidence, and receive information from stakeholders.

Through the WhatsApp service chat, ratepayers will be allowed to view and pay their bills via the WhatsApp platform as well as request application forms, access specific links, and obtain contact information.

Ratepayers who are not registered on the e-Tshwane service are allowed to engage and perform most functions on the City’s WhatsApp platform.

However, there are certain functions that are only available to registered users of the e-Tshwane service, for example making a payment to the City.

According to the Administrator responsible for Institutional Building and Shared Services, Ms Mmaseabata Mutlaneng, “The introduction of this WhatsApp service chat will save customers time and money to visit our walk-in customer service centers by allowing the public to interact with the City in a structured manner.

“This will enable convenient ways of making payments and promote improved visibility for the City’s services. In addition, one will be able to view and apply for jobs through the e-Recruitment link, get a summary of your utility account, and download forms to apply for or cancel services and other range of services,” she said.

The Covid-19 pandemic era has made the current team of administrators to speed up innovative ways of interacting with the City’s customers.

A large proportion of the South African population makes use of WhatsApp on a daily basis, so the App is a perfect conduit for communication.

“We have upped the game and adapted to the preferred communication channel(s). This App also allows for a greater number of ratepayers to interact with the City – all that is needed is to have data and a smartphone,” said Ms Mutlaneng.

Speaking on the suspension of the bus services recently, the City of Tshwane Head Administration, Mr Mpho Nawa said, “It is common cause that the Coronavirus spreads rapidly, and as a precautionary measure, we resolved to temporarily close the affected bus depots and suspend bus operations to allow for the deep cleaning and disinfection of the buildings and the buses.

“We acknowledge that our valued customers were adversely affected by the suspension of operations, but this was a necessary move to consider their health and safety, together with that of our staff members.

“The process is complete to disinfect and deep clean the interior and exterior of the buses and the affected buildings. We reiterate our heartfelt apology to the bus commuters for the inconvenience they endured, but this had to be done for the health and safety of the TBS staff and the commuters,” Mr Nawa said.