Residents of Katurura central are up in arms against RedForce Debt Management, the firm appointed by the City of Windhoek to collect outstanding water and electricity payments.
The chairman of the Katutura Residents Committee, Benestus Kandundu, says the appointment of a debt management firm aggravates residents’ financial burdens.
He said this at a community engagement on Wednesday.
“The RedForce engagement must come to an end with immediate effect, and the city must activate an internal debt-collecting department,” Kandundu said.
He questioned the way Redforce Debt Management was appointed for the job.
“We are calling on the city to furnish details on the process through which RedForce was engaged and who the company’s directors are.
“This would clear the air regarding the relationship between workers of the city and the company,” Kandundu said.
The committee further called on the city to relax its debt policy.
“It is disheartening for members of the Katutura Residents Committee to note that years after the ravaging effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the country’s socio-economic and business landscape, the citizens and businesses operating in and around the City of Windhoek are yet to get some form of relief from the city administrators when it comes to the payment of rates and taxes,” he said.
“Furthermore, numerous households have endured survival losses due to the sudden death of many family breadwinners,” he said.
Kandundu called on the city for the immediate relaxation of its debt policy to allow the economic recovery of the populace and their businesses.
City of Windhoek spokesperson Lydia Amutenya yesterday said RedForce was appointed to help the council in its debt-collection efforts within Windhoek.
“While the council has procedures in place to enable clients to make payment arrangements, unfortunately, clients mostly default even after committing to the payment arrangement they put in place with the council,” she said.
Amutenya said it is not true that the public is not made aware of the involvement of RedForce on behalf of the council.
She said most accounts handed over to debt collectors are above 90 to 120 days outstanding, and that this is after exhausting available avenues to recover the money.
“While there are challenges affecting the payment of services, the council needs to keep municipal services running, and we also have an obligation to pay the providers of bulk services, such as water and electricity.
“Without payment from our clients, it is impossible for the council to continue providing uninterrupted municipal services to the public,” she said.
Hamutenya said ignoring payment obligations is not helpful, and the council has an obligation to recover such funds.
RedForce Debt Management’s chief executive officer, Julius Nyamazana, says even though the public finds the exercise appalling, they have a job to do.
“We have to collect the debts you owe. It does not matter if our work is unappealing, it is up to you,” he says.