Walvis Bay council passed a motion to end RedForce agreement

Martin Endjala

The Walvis Bay Municipal Council, during an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday, passed an unopposed motion to terminate its contract with RedForce Debt Management with immediate effect.

The motion comes after the Walvis Bay community marched to the streets, demanding the termination of the debt collector’s contract.

The motion titled ‘Termination of the contract to render debt collection and management services to the Municipality of Walvis Bay’ seeks and requests a firm decision, which will be made by council members, to act in good faith and the public interest when carrying out responsibilities trusted upon them.

Ryan Gordon, the Landless People’s Movement’s (LPM), councillor confirmed this in an interview with Windhoek Observer on Wednesday.

“We were nine councillors present with one councillor not present when councillor Ephraim Shozi tabled a motion to end the RedForce contract. That is when all the councillors agreed and adopted the motion. Nobody opposed the motion, and the motion went through,” he said.

“RedForce’s contract was stopped immediately. Now that RedForce is out of the way, other things will be looked at, such as who brought RedForce and how it came to operate without community consultations or concern and approval,” Gordon added.

He said ending the debt collector’s contract would relieve the community from undue pressure.

“With it now out of the way, we urge the community to pay their bills,” he said.

Gordon also called on community members, who are in arrears to pay more if they can or make payment arrangements to clear their arrears with the municipality.

“Please go make the necessary arrangements and pay your bills. Now, the council cannot intervene when somebody’s water services are suspended. Then we are interfering. The relief is there now for the community, so if your bill is about N$600 and you have more than that, please go pay that extra 12 percent,” he urged.

During the council meeting, councillor Shozi stated that his motion was clear and that RedForce must stop with immediate effect.

He added that the legal roots and financial implications will be dealt with later, but the municipality must now divorce RedForce.

Shozi said the motion is derived from a recent community meeting held on 17 April in a request to fast-track an outcome of a motion to be tabled earlier than 30 April 2024 at the Council Ordinary Meeting.

Shozi argued that the decision to award the tender to RedForce was not approved and that the council members had taken no resolution.

Meanwhile, in response to the news, Katutura Residents Committee (KRC) spokesperson Shaun Gariseb told the publication that he hopes this development serves as a wake-up call to the City of Windhoek council.

He lauded the Walvis Bay council for ending the contract, while also lauding the Walvis Bay community for pushing for the termination of the debt collector contract.

Gariseb explained that in July 2023, they gave recommendations to CoW regarding debt management and collection.

“We said they must capacitate their internal debt management department. If they don’t have the capacity, they must employ unemployed graduates. We are aware that the legal fraternity is busy exploring how to stop such debt collection, which is supposed to be done by lawyers,” he said.

He also recommended that a ceiling amount of debt be allowable before services are cut off so debts don’t escalate into hundreds of thousands. For instance, N$6000 must be the ceiling.

Gariseb also welcomed a motion tabled by the LPM deputy leader Henny Seibeb in the National Assembly on 23 April to investigate Redforce and its owners. Cementing that it is about time.

Questions sent to RedForce proved futile at the time of publication. Since 2014, the agency is reported to have collected N$1 billion from operating in ten localities.

Related Posts