The City of Cape Town unveiled its 150th FreeCall line in Khayelitsha today, 11 May 2016. What could be dubbed as the City’s very own ‘please call us’ service, makes it easier for even more residents to access services at no cost to themselves. Today’s unveiling also marked a significant achievement for the City. Read more below:
Residents of Khayelitsha joined the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Corporate Services and Compliance, Councillor Xanthea Limberg, in the Masakhane Library for the unveiling of the City’s 150th FreeCall line (FCL). This brings the number to eight FCLs dotted across Khayelitsha.
The pilot phase of this project was launched in July 2009 when four FreeCall lines were installed in City facilities in Strand, Lwandle and Khayelitsha.‘The uptake by residents who had access to these FCLs was very encouraging and we quickly realised that this facility was an essential service. Although most residents have access to cellphones, many cannot afford the cost of calls so we are providing an alternative way for them to call on the City for services or to make general enquiries,’ said Councillor Limberg.
Since 2012 the City’s call centre has fielded, on average, 50 000 calls per year via the FCLs. A record total of 59 893 calls were received between January and November 2015, making this the highest number of calls received since 2012.
The FreeCall lines are generally located in municipal buildings, housing offices, cash offices, libraries, clinics and in community facilities throughout the city. Early last year, a FCL was installed at Ikhaya le Langa – a community-based project in Langa. This venue is the meeting point for a number of community groups working in the Langa area.
‘We are working hard to make City services more accessible, especially to our vulnerable residents. The lack of landline availability, coupled with the high cost of cellphone calls or a lack of airtime, should not be a barrier for residents who want to reach out to us for services. Residents are reminded that the FreeCall lines can be used to contact the City for various enquiries and service requests relating to, for example, account enquiries, refuse collection, illegal dumping, water leaks, sewer blockages, street lights that are not working or potholes that need to be fixed. By reporting faults, complaints, vandalism, and theft of City property, residents can play their part in helping us build a well-run city, together,’ added Councillor Limberg.
When a resident uses the FreeCall line, the phone automatically connects to the City’s call centre as the caller lifts the receiver. A call centre agent answers the phone in the language of the caller’s choice, logs the service request, and gives the caller a reference number.
‘We are committed to building a caring city and will continue to install more FreeCall lines in communities across the city. We set a target of 100 FCLs for our term of office and I am pleased that we have exceeded our target to connect residents with the City,’ said Councillor Limberg.