Walvis Bay stops RedForce from cutting off water

UNHAPPY … Some Walvis Bay residents are demanding that RedForce Debt Management does not interfere in the town’s affairs, despite a High Court ruling in favour of the company continuing its operations.

The Walvis Bay municipality says it has stopped RedForce Debt Management from disconnecting the water supply to residents whose accounts are in arrears, while finding an amicable solution to a contractual issue regarding the company.

Representing the town, lawyer Richard Metcalfe on Tuesday in a statement said the municipality would “reserve the disconnection of accounts to their employees”.

RedForce has attained an order stopping the municipality from terminating its service contract.

“In the interim, the Municipal Council of Walvis Bay has given instruction that the disconnection and reconnection of municipal water services and municipal water readings will be reserved exclusively as part of its employees’ duties.

“No debt collector shall whatsoever carry out such duties for and on the behalf of the Municipality of Walvis Bay,” the statement reads.

Metcalfe says the municipality would also launch an investigation into the awarding of the contract to the debt-management company.

Meanwhile, Walvis Bay residents and councillors say they are unhappy over the Windhoek High Court order halting the termination of the town’s contract with RedForce Debt Management.

RedForce released a statement in response to the judgement, saying: “The public is hereby informed that all operations at our Walvis Bay office shall resume effective immediately following the court order issued by the High Court of Namibia this morning, wherein the court declared that the Municipality of Walvis Bay is henceforth interdicted and restrained from implementing or continuing to implement their decision of 23 April 2024.

“Accounts handed over for collection shall remain with RedForce until they are settled in full.”

According to the statement, residents and/or debtors are advised to cooperate with the debt-collection process.

All collection methods employed by RedForce are done in compliance with the municipality’s credit control policy, the company says.

The council’s decision on 23 April at a council meeting to terminate the services of RedForce with immediate effect would be set aside by the court order issued by judge Thomas Masuku, the statement says.

The unopposed motion for the termination of the Walvis Bay municipality’s contract with RedForce to the town council was tabled by councillor Ephraim Shozi.

Councillor Ryan Gordon has subsequently urged the public to remain calm, noting there would have been a meeting on Tuesday, which would be followed by a statement by the town’s lawyer.

“The councillors were upset at the time of receiving the news about the court order, because their motion was unopposed. However, the community can be at ease.

“We will stick to our promise of solving this issue. It is not about politics, but about the promise that we made for the community. They should remain calm. We are positive and still stand by our motion,” he said earlier this week.

Residents representative Elvis Goseb this week said residents were disappointed, but would continue trying to get rid of RedForce.

“As residents we are very disappointed with the High Court ruling.

“As residents we still feel that the appointment was not done lawfully. No procedures were followed, and we still feel RedForce should leave Walvis Bay because of high charges and inhuman conduct.

“We still stand firm to oppose the operations of RedForce,” he said.

Walvis Bay mayor Trevino Forbes this week said he could not comment, since the issue is still before the courts.

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