How to lodge a complaint with the City Ombudsman

18 DECEMBER 2020


The City of Cape Town’s Ombudsman investigates and facilitates the resolution of complaints from members of the public against the City administration. The office follows the Ombudsman By-law (2015). It functions with independence, credibility and impartiality. It is against the law and South African Constitution to interfere in the business, powers and functions of this office. The City encourages members of the public to approach the Ombudsman once they have exhausted the required channels. Please make use of the convenient online service on offer, as a COVID-19 precaution. Next year, the service offering will be expanded with the launch of an SMS number. Read more below:

If a member of the public has lodged an enquiry with a City line department and an insufficient response has been received, the Office of the City Ombudsman may be contacted to investigate the matter further. For instance, this could be when one has disputed an account or asked for clarity on a project roll out and the response has been lacking. It is important to first approach the relevant City department and provide proof of the exchange before approaching the Ombudsman. 

Only lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman if the department that you have submitted a complaint to has not responded sufficiently or you are not satisfied with the outcome or you are not happy with the level of service delivery. 

On receipt of a complaint, the Ombudsman’s Office will assess the matter to determine jurisdiction as per the By-law and policy, and will notify the complainant of the outcome. On average, for complaints that are not too complex and where documentation is submitted timeously by the complainant, the turnaround time is up to three months from complaint to resolution. 

There are many City complaint channels available to members of the public, depending on the nature of the complaint. 

The Ombudsman does not investigate the following complaints, as there are other compliant channels for these:

  • any legislative or executive decisions by the Council, any of its portfolio committees or subcouncils;
  • any matter involving an allegation of fraud, corruption or corporate crime as referred to in the City’s Fraud Prevention Policy;
  • any matter or dispute which must be dealt with or settled within the field of labour law;
  • any allegation relating to financial irregularities;
  • any cases where the complainant has not reported the matter to the line department as first port of call;
  • any alleged irregular conduct of a councillor;
  • any complaint which is vexatious or frivolous;
  • any tender-related matter; and
  • administrative appeals.

‘The intention of our office is to facilitate amicable resolutions where possible between the City and the various stakeholders. Alternatively, we investigate whether the customer was provided with a fair customer based service and whether the municipality has complied with the relevant policies, procedures and legislation. 

‘In 2021, there are some exciting new initiatives that we will be launching to bring our services closer to all the residents of Cape Town. This includes a quick access SMS channel for general queries and advice on how to lodge a complaint. We are looking at enhancing our service offerings especially in light of COVID-19 and the expectation that it will continue to have an impact on how services are offered,’ said the City’s Ombudsman, Vusumzi Magwebu.  

Lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman

  • The Office of the Ombudsman does not accept complaints by telephone but will assist residents to access a complaint form online, or send a form to you.
  • Once the form has been completed it can be sent by post or delivered to:

The Ombudsman
Third floor
Tower Block
Cape Town Civic Centre
12 Hertzog Boulevard
Cape Town 

Alternatively, the complaint form can be emailed to [email protected] or faxed to 021 400 5487.

When the City Ombudsman receives the complaint form, the officer will decide whether the office is the right place to deal with the matter. If not, they will explain why they can’t handle the matter and suggest alternative remedies that are available.

Please always describe a complaint in detail, including the name/s of the official/s involved, what happened and any relevant dates and times. Please always include any relevant documentation or evidence. The Ombudsman’s Office will assess the complaint, to determine whether the office can assist or whether to direct the complainant to the appropriate department or institution.


  • Telephone: 021 400 5487 (Monday to Friday (except public holidays) between 10:00 and 14:30)
  • Email: [email protected]

For more information, please visit:

Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town