Net 1 Ueps Technologies Inc. said it now has an independent ombudsman, Advocate Neville Melville, who will oversee dispute resolution regarding the Company’s financial services and value-added product sales through various subsidiaries in South Africa.
Advocate Neville Melville is uniquely experienced in the dispute resolution field, having been appointed as a functionary of the National Peace Accord in turbulent KwaZulu-Natal in the run up to South Africa’s first democratic election. He then
established the Independent Complaints Directorate (now IPID) under the Mandela Administration before becoming the Banking Ombudsman, in which capacity he served for seven years.
Thereafter, he assisted various ombudsman offices in South Africa and other African countries with setting up their offices, training their staff members, compiling manuals, reviewing their processes and conducting research. For the last four years, he has headed the Consumer Goods and Services Ombud scheme, which is accredited under the statute. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (London).
The services provided by the ombudsman will include receiving complaints from the Company’s customers, including social grant recipients, seeking any outstanding information necessary for a decision and settling the complaints by way of conciliation, mediation, fact finding or decision binding upon the Company. The ombudsman will function independently from the Company’s established query and dispute resolution process.
Advocate Melville will commence with his activities with immediate effect and will attend a community meeting as an independent observer in the Western Cape today, together with representatives from the Company and Grindrod Bank, relating to complaints raised by social grant recipients. The Company expects to publish the ombudsman’s terms of reference, reporting obligations, contact details, and a customer service charter before the end of June 2017.
“We are delighted that Adv. Melville has agreed to establish the ombud function,” said Herman Kotze, chief executive officer of Net1. “We are aware of persistent public complaints about the functioning of our call center and dispute resolution process, which we have been unable to verify despite our best efforts. We are committed to providing our customers with outstanding service and we are confident that Neville’s vast experience will assist us in achieving our goals while providing independent oversight and reporting,” he concluded.