Keetmanshoop-Over N$7 million dollars of the N$60 million owed to Keetmanshoop Municipality was collected from August to October after the municipality announced this year that it would bring in the services of an independent debt collector in an attempt to recover millions of dollars owed by residents, businesses and public institutions at the town.
Red Force CEO Julius Nyamazana told New Era he is happy with the progress made so far and that the company had collected what he said was a significant amount in three months.
He said while their offices opened in June, the firm was busy with sorting out internal issues for the office to function smoothly and only started collecting monies owed in August, and it has been a smooth sailing so far, according to him.
“We started collecting in August, and as of October we have collected 11 percent of the book value given to us, that is more than N$7 million of the N$60 million overall debt in just three months,” he said.
He pointed out that the first target group were government institutions, and other big institutions, who he said were willing to pay when approached, while those that could not pay immediately made payment arrangements to settle their debt.
Nyamazana further said while there will always be a with a few rotten apples in the community who are not willing to cooperate, most residents are willing to pay when approached, noting that there has not been resistance from the residents.
He was however concerned with the number of households headed by pensioners, saying some of the elderly have accumulated huge debts, which will practically be impossible to pay off with their pension grants as only form of household income.
He added that the lack of economic activities in the town means many people are unemployed and depend on senior citizens, which increases the burden on the pensioners. “Some of the elderly owe about N$50,000 to N$100,000. In some cases even more than this and these elderly [resident] usually stay with more than five dependants, so it becomes difficult,” he said.
He added that another obstacle the company face involves cases where the owner of the house has died and in many cases, those who have been using municipal services are not willing to pay for the debt, even though it has accrued after the owner had passed on.
He encouraged residents to take responsibility and take over the accounts of those who have passed on, saying the use of municipal services without paying for it will result in the municipality not being able to deliver quality services due to lack of funds.