Calls for Rundu to write off debt
10 September 2020 | Local News
The Rundu Concerned Citizens Association (RCCA) has expressed concern over the town council's decision to appoint a debt collector to recover over N$200 million owed by residents.
The cash-strapped Rundu town council has appointed Red Force Debt Management to do its debt collection for the next three years.
RCCA chairperson Reginald Ndara said it was poor timing because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He is one of the suspended councillors who have been out of office since March.
Although RCCA welcomed the idea of recovering debts, it should be the responsibility of the municipality's finance department, he said.
Ndara added that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the livelihoods of many residents.
“Many persons have lost their employment due to the coronavirus and those who are still employed are spending their earnings economically due to the unpredictable future,” he argued.
Not the first time
He said the council had made use of a private debt collector before, and the last time, some residents had to pay double due to a lack of proper bookkeeping.
He also alleged that the relationship between the previous debt collector and the council ended badly. “We don't want to see a repetition of the contractual agreement between Rundu town council and one of the debt collectors some years ago, which left many residents losing out by paying double or even more due to the unprofessional conduct of both parties, specifically the lack of proper record-keeping,” he said.
Write off debts
The RCCA called on the town council to stop threatening the residents and start writing off the debts of poor people such as pensioners and single parents with no or little income. Rundu residents have been warned to settle their municipal accounts to avoid losing their homes, having their services disconnected or facing legal processes. Meanwhile, The People's Agenda (TPA), a civic organisation, is also against the town council's decision to appoint a debt collector.
According to a letter written on Tuesday by TPA leader, Sebastian Ntjamba, to council administrator Sebastian Kantema, the municipality should recover its monies from businesses, state-owned enterprises and government, and private residents should be excluded from the exercise. “Water is a basic need; it is one of the constitutional human rights to have access to safe portable drinking water,” the letter said.
'Let poor people live in peace'
“The movement would like to emphasise that the accumulation of debt is due to poor management.
Instead of you as organisation taking accountability and settling it, you have decided, unconstitutionally, to unleash debt collectors on the poor people of Rundu,” Ntjamba wrote.
“Let the council settle the debt and let the poor people of Rundu live in peace. November is upon us; we shall and will put in a new council that will take up the fight afresh and put forth new strategic measures, with the aid of good management and governance.”