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Home / Walvis Bay jumps on anti-RedForce bandwagon  

Walvis Bay jumps on anti-RedForce bandwagon  

2024-04-02  Eveline de Klerk

Walvis Bay jumps on anti-RedForce bandwagon  

WALVIS BAY - Walvis Bay residents have raised their voices in protest to demand that the municipality cuts ties with the RedForce debt-collecting agency.

Owned by Julius Nyamazana, RedForce has so far managed to collect over N$1 billion of the N$1.5 billion owed to at least eight local authorities by ratepayers countrywide.

Last week, residents marched from the Kuisebmond and Narraville townships to plead with the council to sever ties with RedForce.

“Some of us are pensioners; some lost our jobs during Covid-19…I fell ill and cannot work anymore,” said Johanna Witbooi, one of the disgruntled residents. 

Some presented water bills amounting to over N$70 000.

These amounts, Witbooi stated, accumulated during Covid-19, which was also declared a state of emergency by late president Hage Geingob at the time.

Another resident, Katrina Auchas, who owes over N$74 000, accused the debt- collecting company of charging exorbitant interest rates which makes it nearly impossible for them to keep up with payments.

“We have been paying…but there is no change on our bills. In fact, it increases due to the interest. When will we be able to settle these bills?” another resident questioned.

RedForce, the Windhoek-based debt- collection and management company, has been in the news lately, with residents of several towns protesting its modus operandi.


Similar protests against the company have taken place in Windhoek and Okahandja after RedForce was appointed by those local authorities to collect outstanding debt on their behalf.

During the coastal protest, community activist Elvis Goseb said residents are against the unlawful introduction of RedForce.

He reasoned that it was not practical to introduce RedForce in the face of economic hardship, especially while residents are trying to find their feet post-Covid-19.



Speaking on behalf of the residents, Goseb said they find the implementation of RedForce debt management unlawful based on Article 111 (5) of the Namibian constitution, which states that all by-laws or regulations made by local authorities pursuant to powers vested in them by an Act of parliament, should be tabled in the National Assembly.

“The credit control policy of the Walvis Bay municipality was never tabled at the National Assembly, after a revised draft in January 2022. The document was never signed off by the council and adopted. The credit control policy document, therefore, is an illegal document enforced upon the residents of Walvis Bay,” he charged.


The residents also demanded answers on how the tender process was conducted, and how RedForce was awarded the contract.

They likewise want to know why ratepayers’ information was shared with RedForce without their consent.

“The debt collector does not have the mandate to disconnect the water supply of residents. The 12% extra charge by RedForce Debt Management on outstanding debts is illegal, as the Act clearly states that a town council or village council may, with the prior approval of the minister and in respect of such financial year as he or she may determine, levy and determine a rate on rateable property situated within its area. It is the minister who needs to determine how much percentage should be charged on outstanding debts,” he continued.

Under duress

Currently, residents are forced by the municipality to make payment arrangements with RedForce for outstanding debts, while being threatened to pay 75% of outstanding debts before any reconnection of water supply, making it an unlawful act. RedForce is currently carrying out the functions of the revenue department of the municipality of Walvis Bay, he added.

“The employees of this department continue to receive full salaries and benefits while their job is outsourced. Why are they not made redundant if they can’t do their jobs?” Goseb questioned.

Another petitioner, Kirkie Kleinsmith, demanded that the municipality and council treat residents with respect.

“Why do you pay millions to RedForce to trace residents while the Local Authorities Act clearly gives guidelines for the procedures to be followed regarding the recovery of rates and to approach a court of competent jurisdiction?” the resident asked.

“What happened to the error which took place in the finance department of the municipality regarding the N$712 846 which was paid into the wrong account? The same department last year overpaid a security company with an amount of N$1.2 million…was this matter also investigated?” he wanted to know.

Kleinsmith said they are going to engage the urban development ministry to train the Walvis Bay town council’s management on the Namibian constitution.

The residents then demanded that their petition be answered by Friday.

Finance manager at the municipality Frans Gonteb received the petition on behalf of the council, and told the residents that their issues will be addressed in due course.

“We understand the concerns raised by you, and will make sure that we give feedback as soon as possible,” he assured.

Last year, municipality spokesperson Anita Kaihiva also addressed the RedForce issue after residents protested during a council meeting.

She stated that the municipality followed an approved policy when it appointed RedForce, as is the practice elsewhere in the country.

This policy guides the decision-making process on when and how to hand over accounts to external debt collectors.


“Residents’ personal details and billing information are shared with the third-party debt collector as part of this process, and it is outlined in our policy to facilitate the efficient collection of overdue payments. We would like to emphasise that the municipality operates within a legal framework, and we have not found any legislation or case law in Namibia prohibiting such actions. If any discrepancies during the debt-collection process are identified, we are committed to addressing them and improving our communication with residents,” Kaihiva said at the time.

During his visit to the coastal town late last year, urban development minister Erastus Uutoni expressed his disappointment over the appointment of RedForce by municipalities and councils, saying that better consultations and meetings with residents should take place to encourage them to pay their debts.

He also questioned why local authorities were in the habit of outsourcing their debt- collection function when they have functioning debt-collecting departments.

“They don’t want to have meetings and inform communities, but when the person has accrued too much debt, you invite the person to the office or to a public meeting. Invite your sister, brother and community, and speak to them for arrangements. But putting an agency to help will not solve the issue. The added interest is a lot for a person who is already suffering and not earning a lot,” Uutoni emphasised then.



2024-04-02  Eveline de Klerk

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