CoW to stick to RedForce for debt collection

Martin Endjala

City of Windhoek (CoW) deputy mayor, Joseph Uapingene, said the city will stick with RedForce to collect its debts, despite calls from the Katutura Residents Committee (KRC) to abolish the plan.

He said this on 22 April during a media briefing at the council chamber to address concerns raised by the KRC in a petition submitted last year and a letter dated 8 April, among other things.

Uapingene said RedForce has proven more sustainable in collecting debts for the municipality than the previous system, which yielded no results.

“It is imperative to note that the decision to appoint Redforce was made after carefully considering the financial implications for the city and its residents. The previous debt collection system through external attorneys proved financially troublesome and did not guarantee results,” explained Uapingene.

He said RedForce’s model, which charges only a ten percent fee on actual payments received, is a more sustainable approach for all parties involved.

He assured pensioners and all residents that no interest is charged on accounts managed by RedForce, and only a ten percent collection fee is charged on payments made.

Adding that no pensioners’ residential property accounts will be handed over to RedForce, and no interest will be charged on accounts handed over to RedForce for all residents.

The councillor explained that the contract with RedForce is in accordance with the municipality’s Credit Control Policy, which is in place to manage debt recovery effectively.

A policy which outlines the procedures for debt collection, ensuring that all monies owed to the council are recovered fairly and systematically.

According to the policy, residential customers can make payment arrangements when their accounts are in arrears, and services such as water or electricity may be disconnected after 30 days of non-payment.

According to the municipality, a minimum payment of one-third of the account balance is required for reconnection for the first time and 50 percent for subsequent disconnections.

Uapingene said the policy accommodates the resident’s needs while maintaining the council’s financial stability.

Uapingene also slammed former CoW councillor, Benestus Kanddunduis now misleading residents because he alleges that since his account was handed over to RedForce, it had been increased.

“During his tenure at the municipality, why did he not write off pensioners debts? We are saying that the municipality has gone out of its way to do this for its residents, which should be appreciated,” argued the mayor.

Meanwhile, in response to these, KRC activist, Shaun Gariseb, slammed the municipality for going ahead with the meeting without their presence, as they were not notified and only came to learn about the meeting on 22 April and the content from the Ombudsman, which is said to have been evasive for seven months.

“It’s just sheer arrogance to do what they did, but they did it and just spoke about how it’s financially good to keep Redforce. They also said they block water or electricity as a measure to force you to pay.

They again said they don’t hand over pensioners’ accounts to Redforce. We already proved that this is a lie. It is such a shame that a whole institution like CoW can be this arrogant and just rely on the advice of heads of finance and debt management,” argued Gariseb.

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