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Katutura Residents Committee leader Kandundu accused abusing of poor for own agenda

Katutura Residents Committee leader Kandundu accused abusing of poor for own agenda

Staff Reporter

“THE Katutura Residents Committee does not have a service agreement with the City of Windhoek. We have listened to them as residents, and we have agreed to some of their demands as residents. You demand A, B, C, and require all of the demands to be met. We did what we could do. We cannot write off all the debt financially. How will we operate the organization? They could have said thank you for writing off the debt instead of saying we will not accept that. It is an inhumane response. The bad thing about this is the leader of the Katutura Residents Committee, Benestus Kandundu, is a former councillor of CoW. Why did he not write off all the debt when he was here if it is practical? The former councillor, Kandundu, because he is owing, is misleading the elderly people because his account is handed over to Redforce,” said City of Windhoek’s Deputy Mayor, Joseph Uapingene.

The above are the words of the City of Windhoek’s Deputy Mayor, Joseph Uapingene, who accused the leader of the Katutura Residents Committee, Benestus Kandundu, of using the elderly to demonstrate for the abolishment of Redforce services, while the elderly’s accounts are not handled by Redforce but by the council itself.

PICTURED: Some residents of Katutura protested for debt write-off at the City of Windhoek municipal council last year. Photo: Contributed

“It is crucial for all parties, including former City of Windhoek Councillor Mr. Benardus Kandundu, to provide accurate information to the public, ensuring that advocacy efforts do not inadvertently mislead or exploit residents’ emotions,” Uapingene said.

He further said that the municipal council will continue its working relations with Redforce and that the city does not have a service agreement with Katutura Residents Committee, which obliges them to adhere to all their demands.

He further said that the decision to appoint Redforce was made after careful consideration of the financial implications for the City and its residents.

“The previous debt collection system through external attorneys proved financially troublesome without guaranteeing results. Redforce’s model, which only charges a 10% fee on actual payments received, is a more sustainable approach for all parties involved. Furthermore, we assured our pensioners and all residents that no interest is charged on accounts managed by Redforce, only a collection fee of 10% on payments made. Notably, no pensioners’ residential property accounts are handed over to Redforce, and there is no interest charged on accounts handed over to Redforce for all residents,” Uapingene said.

He added that the consequences of non-payment of municipal services in the City of Windhoek alluded to above can include the disconnection of services such as electricity.

“The Council approved the write-off of N$524 million in total debts, including capital and interest for pensioners and 50% interest for non-pensioners and businesses on 30 November 2023. The registration period for pensioners was extended to accommodate all eligible pensioners, with approximately 3000 registered thus far. Non-pensioners and businesses had their interests automatically written off as of 18 March 2024 and have been reflected on their municipal statement for March. The Council’s decision to write off N$524 million in debts is solely a City’s initiative, which is also a significant financial relief measure for the community, especially for pensioners and vulnerable residents. This action not only aims to alleviate the economic burden on these groups during challenging times but also ensures compliance with accounting standards by addressing irrecoverable debts. The initiative reflects a substantial increase from the N$191 million debt relief in 2018, indicating a responsive and adaptive approach to the growing debt book, which reached N$1.2 billion in 2022,” Uapingene said.

The automatic 50% interest write-off for non-pensioners and businesses as of 18 March, along with the extended registration for pensioners to 31 May 2024, demonstrates the Council’s commitment to its vision of being sustainable and caring while being cognizant of sustainable financial management, the deputy mayor concluded.

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