Grootfontein Municipal Council appoints debt collector to recover N$213m

The Grootfontein Municipal Council (GMC) on 2 May announced their decision to appoint the RedForce Debt Management to recover debts of N$213 million.

The council previously attempted debt collection through resident engagement and encouraging financial arrangements, but these efforts were unsuccessful.

GMC has addressed residents on the ongoing culture of non-payment among residents.

“This humble request has seemingly fallen on deaf ears and was ignored, while the disconnection of services resulted in another demonstration,” said the council.

They said the appointment of RedForce Debt Management is a necessary step to improve the council’s financial standing and deliver on its commitments to the community.

The council further said it will maintain its commitment to providing a safe and efficient environment for residents, but that they need sustainable revenue to implement any of their strategic objectives such as construction of a taxi rank, an open market, a fire station, a landfill, recreational facilities, a new oxidation pond and for road upgrades.

“The responsibility is, therefore, on the residents to honour their financial obligations if we are to achieve any of our strategic objectives,” said the council.

GMC said that during a council meeting held on 4 August 2023, the full council directed the executive management to procure services from debt collectors.

Under the Public Procurement Act of 2015, recovering outstanding debts owed to the council through an open national bidding process is allowed.

GMC stated that on 13 December 2023, the council placed an open national bidding advert in the NewEra Newspaper, requesting for proposals on the provision of debt recovery and data collection services.

“This Open National Bidding process closed at 11h00 on Friday 26 January 2024. Only two bids were received, from RedForce Debt Management and Quartile Investment CC,” said the council.

The council said the internal Bid Evaluation Committee and Procurement Committee evaluated the proposals and awarded the contract to RedForce Debt Management.

“In line with Section 62 (1) (2) of the Public Procurement Act of 2015, the council and RedForce Debt Management negotiated and signed a contract agreement on 5 April 2024,” said the council.

GMC said misinformation based on a signed petition from the community and circulating on social media are inaccurate, as the council intends to go in line with its values, vision and mission as stipulated in the strategic Plan of Grootfontein Municipal 2023-2028.

GMC said currently it does not charge any interest on outstanding municipal levies and that pensioners are subsidised with a N$312 on their monthly levies.

The council also plans to implement a pre-paid water metre system to improve revenue collection in the future.

The council said it remains committed to collecting outstanding municipal debts in a fair and transparent manner, encouraging residents who have evidence of corruption related to the debt collection services contract to report it to the Anti-Corruption Commission.

On 1 May, the council placed a hold on the commencement of debt collection services, causing a pending finalisation on internal modalities, which will allow defaulters to make payment arrangements with the finance department.

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