A staff crisis at Nelson Mandela Bay’s 10111 call centre has seen hundreds of calls go unanswered over the last few weeks, with Monday being particularly bad when 440 calls went unanswered.
Insiders said staff shortages, due to people booking off sick, had been a problem throughout last month and were fast approaching “a crisis situation”.
Contingency plans have been put in place, with police officers pulled from fighting crime to man the phones and computer systems.
The problem started at the beginning of last month, when staff members started booking off sick.
Police insiders said that on Monday alone more than 1 100 calls were made to the call centre, with 440 callers eventually hanging up as their calls were not answered.
Since the beginning of last month, an average of 400 calls a day were unanswered, and classified as “abandoned”.
Provincial top brass said service delivery had not been hampered and they were monitoring the situation. Insiders, however, have called it a crisis. The 10111 centre services the entire Nelson Mandela Bay district and is directly connected to the emergency services.
It dispatches first responders, detectives and other specialist units as needed.
Yesterday, just five staff members arrived for duty, with only one official manning the 20-odd incoming phone lines.
By the late morning, administration clerks had been roped in to help.
Officials revealed that as few as five people were manning all the computer systems, control desks and phones over the festive season.