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Mixed feelings as BCC introduces SMS invoices

by Staff reporter
21 Dec 2021 at 06:16hrs | Views
BULAWAYO residents have raised concern over an announcement by the council to stop issuing printed statements due to a computer system malfunction.

The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) said it would send statements via short messaging services (SMSes).

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) chairperson Ambrose Sibindi said SMS statements could be easily ignored, or not read altogether.

"The council is technologically advancing, which is not bad in a modern world, but it will be in tears when people read the SMS and ignore it. It is better for it to use both printed invoices and messages," he said.

Sibindi said the local authority needed to conduct a massive awareness campaign informing residents who might not have read about the new SMS statements on social or traditional media.

BPRA executive secretary for administration Thembelani Dube chipped in, saying: "We are doubting Thomases, we believe in seeing the printed invoices, therefore, council should continue printing invoices."

Dube questioned how the local authority would communicate with tenants in the diaspora.

Residents have often clashed with the local authority over estimated bills.

BCC has said it has a shortage of meter readers, a situation that forces it to estimate bills.

Dube urged the local authority to address residents' concerns over inaccurate bills.

Emakhandeni resident Barnette Masibi said: "This won't work. Sending printed invoices guarantees parties, the council and the residents. If we don't get our invoices, we will relax."

He argued that sending SMSes would be problematic for the elderly.

The council has advised residents who have not provided their cellphone numbers to use BCC WhatsApp numbers to send their details to be able to receive their statements.

Council announced that the production of November bills was affected by a computer hardware malfunction.

Source - NewsDay Zimbabwe
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