Rundu residents face blacklisting
Rundu residents who owe the council money have been warned to cooperate with R.edforce Debt Management.
12 January 2021 | Local News
Rundu residents who fail to settle their municipal debts may be blacklisted, taken to court or have their properties seized by the cash-strapped local authority.
The Rundu town council has turned to a private debt collector, Redforce Debt Management, to recover close to half a billion dollars owed to it by its residents, government institutions and businesses.
The contract between the two parties is valid for three years.
With Redforce having resumed its operations last week, residents of Rundu are complaining about how the debt collector is conducting its operations.
Redforce adds a 12% mark-up to the amount owed by the defaulter as payment for its services.
A Rundu resident told Namibian Sun that she was given three months to settle a debt of N$20 000, something she described as “too extreme and inconsiderate”.
“I went to their (Redforce) office and I was told to settle my debt within three months or face the consequences. Do these people know that we are in a difficult time trying to stay alive from the deadly coronavirus? Our incomes have been affected, therefore they should be considerate,” the resident said.
She demanded that people should pay their debt on their own terms.
A number of other residents have shared the same sentiments, saying that the timing of the council's deal with Redforce is not good for nation building.
When contacted for comment, Redforce managing director Julius Nyamazana explained that a person whose account has been handed over by the local authority would first be asked how much they can pay to settle their account.
“Upon indicating how much they can pay to settle their account, Redforce will then look into that person's financial status and determine whether to allow the person to pay what they initially said or the affordability as per their assessment. The two will then enter into an agreement,” Nyamazana explained.
Nyamazana added that two people can owe the same amount but their repayment timeframe or amounts can be different.
He called on residents to be honest when presenting their information to Redforce.
When asked what would happen if someone does not honour the agreement, Nyamazana said they would first engage the client before taking action.
He said Redforce, with the powers vested in them by the Rundu town council, can opt to blacklist a defaulter, terminate municipal services or take the legal route.
Unpaid erven and houses can be repossessed by the local authority.
Last year, the urban and rural development ministry tried to terminate the agreement between Redforce and the Rundu town council but lost the court case.