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25 September 2017 20:50 (South Africa)

Zuma’s hotline overwhelmed

phone in hand

We are really pissed. Who knew? Certainly not the designers of the presidential hotline. It seemed like a fantastic idea - give ordinary South Africans a chance to short circuit the red-tape and go straight to the top. Unfortunately, everybody underestimated the sheer overwhelming volume of public complaints. So now callers to the hotline get, guess what, a recorded message. When The Guardian phoned 17737, it was greeted with a recorded message: "Due to extremely high call volumes we are unable to attend to your call. Please call again, goodbye." Many others say they have had the same experience. The opposition Democratic Alliance has been monitoring the line and says it tested the hotline 46 times during the past three weeks, but has been able to register only four complaints and has not been given a reference number for any of them. Party leader Helen Zille, said 42 calls failed to get through and callers had spent 572 minutes on hold - a total of nine hours and 32 minutes. On its first day of operation, manned by 43 liaison staff at the presidential headquarters, the free hotline took 27 000 calls. More than 2 500 were received in the first hour, increasing to 7 000 in the third hour, the Mail and Guardian reports. We wonder how many complaints have been about the hotline itself.

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