Council reduces parking fees

The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has scrapped the US$1 per 30 minutes parking fee in the city centre to US$1 per hour for the whole city as from Monday, an amount residents say is still high.

When the parking system came into effect last month, most motorists abandoned parking bays in the city centre where the parking fee was US$1 for 30 minutes.

Parking in Zone one, a prime parking area covering Leopold Takawira Avenue to 11th Avenue and Fife Street to Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Street costs US$1 for 30 minutes or the equivalent at the prevailing official rate.

The BCC in partnership with a private company, Tendy Three International (TTI) introduced the new parking system last month.

Under the arrangement council receives 30 percent of the collected parking fees while the company gets 70 percent.

In a statement yesterday evening Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube said: “The City of Bulawayo would like to advise members of the public and the motoring public that with effect from Monday, 21 March 2022, the Central Business District has been designated into a single Zone of 1 hour/US$1 or at equivalent bank rate through Ecocash, POS or ZWL Cash. This notification cancels the 30 mins US$1 Zone that was in place at the core of the city.”

Bulawayo United Residents Association (BURA) chairman Mr Winos Dube said although the decision to reduce the parking fees is commendable, the parking charge must be reduced further to make it affordable for residents.

“If that US$1 could have been pegged for let’s say for three hours or a two-hour zone, it could have been something better. Not this one-hour zone. It is still very expensive for our people. Fair and fine they have given a listening ear, but we still make an appeal that could they consider this more seriously with a reflection of extending the times of this zone,” said Mr Dube.

“A person who works around that area; per working day they will have to part with US$8, over a week of five days that’s US$40 and a month that will cost them US$160. Look at a civil servant, how much are they earning in US dollars, they can’t even afford. They should look at the income people are getting and look at the service that is being provided. Is the service going to be afforded by the people, looking at their income and the answer is still no.”

Mr Dube said council must do a case study and find out how much people doing business around the city centre afford.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BUPRA) secretary for administration Mr Thembelani Dube said this climbdown by council shows that they did not consult residents fully.

“In Zimbabwe, there are a few people who earn US dollars and they must consider in terms of how much people are earning and are people going to afford that. Whenever they hold consultation meetings they must go deeper and tell people everything and not scratch the surface.

“This is what has led to the reduction of the charges; had they said at the beginning during the stakeholders’ consultative meetings that the charges were going to be US$1 per 30 minutes, people were going to reject that and they would have come up with a better and more affordable charge. That’s what they do during budget consultative meetings, they don’t go deeper and later we find out that the mayor’s house will be built,” said Mr Dube.

He said the parking system works in developed countries where there are alternative transport systems.

“As residents, if they want to reduce the number of cars in the CBD, it can be done in areas or countries where there is an efficient transport system, like in developed countries. At least in those countries there is a reliable transport system and there are other alternatives, such as trains and they know they can leave their cars at home,” said Mr Dube.

Earlier this month Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, during a rally in Bulawayo, castigated BCC for awarding the tender to TTI, a foreign company, instead of contracting a local one.

VP Chiwenga said there is a need to empower citizens and entrust them with such ventures for the common good.

“Clearly there is no guarantee that the revenue collected is ploughed back to improve the lives of our people. Our position is that such tenders should be awarded to local people in order to empower them and develop a collective sense of ownership and responsibility to run such businesses,” he said.

“At least these poor developments only go to show the extent to which this council (BCC) is not people-centric. It is high time that we said enough is enough through the thundering voice of the ballot.”

VP Chiwenga urged Bulawayo residents to vote the opposition out of council in the coming by-elections.

He said BCC and other urban councils run by the opposition have dismally failed the electorate.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button