The company that is managing parking lots in Harare’s Central Business District should start work before 8am as they are creating a lot of inconveniences for motorists.
SATURDAY DIALOGUE BY ROPAFADZO MAPIMHIDZE
Recently, a woman had her car clamped after she had parked it at the corner of Fourth Street (Simon Muzenda) and Kwame Nkrumah where the Civil Courts are located.
She arrived early in the morning as she was told to report at a certain office at exactly 8am sharp. She says there were no street marshals issuing tickets to parking motorists.
But alas when she left a few hours later, her vehicle had been clamped and an argument ensued. The Easi Park worker argued that she should have given the guard money for parking, but the woman argued that she was not aware that is what she was supposed to do.
The vehicle was towed away and that was the beginning of a long day to get her vehicle back from where they are towed to.
To make matters worse, she had a very sick patient with her who required medical attention. She eventually sought assistance from Trafalgar Court where the head office is located and had her vehicle released. But just how many people have experienced this shoddy treatment?
A Greystone Park resident also had an unpleasant encounter with these workers when she was told that she owed the company about $6 in parking fees.
The shocked woman asked where was she parked when they issued this ticket. The street marshal said somewhere along Mbuya Nehanda Street at a date given.
It, however, turned out that this woman had never been at that part of the city and she was in Zambia on that particular day, having left her car parked and locked up in the garage at her home in Harare.
“I have never been at that part of the city for ages and this shocked me and I told them I was not going to pay. I asked for the telephone number of their head office and spoke to some woman who is a supervisor. I told her in the strongest terms that I was not going to pay for parking fees that I had been ticketed and that I had my passport to prove that I was away in Zambia on that day.
I live alone and leave all my cars under lock and key when I am away so there is no way my car could have found its way to Mbuya Nehanda Street in CBD. The supervisor immediately reversed the invoice in the computer,” the irate resident said.
The woman said she only comes to the CBD when she visits a wholesale shop that is off Second Street and ensures that she pays cash upfront for parking and that this only happens once in six months when she does groceries for her workers and her aged mother.
“This is insane. What was I doing along Mbuya Nehanda Street? ” she asked in anger.
The question is how many motorists have been “swindled” in this manner?
I for one also had a similar encounter when I parked my car along Chinhoyi Street, when I flagged a rank marshal to give me a ticket. But before she issued me a ticket, she said I owed the company $3 which I had not paid when I had allegedly parked along Cameron Street.
I paid the money grudgingly, but with so many questions in my mind. When I got home to check the date on the calendar, the ticket was issued on a Saturday. I never come to the CBD on Saturdays because that is when my part-time domestic worker comes to do the chores which are done when I am present.
The worker leaves after 4pm and that is when I decide to drive around, but I do not remember parking along Cameron Street. What business do I have there and never have I shared my car with anyone.
This is insane.
There is no doubt that there could be a scandal that is ensuing between the authorities at Trafalgar Court and some street marshals because why would the invoice be destroyed if these cars had truly parked along these roads?
And why are these street marshals not present when cars come to park along these parking bays in the morning? This is a very bad business practice that has to stop forthwith.
I remember, recently, when I had to physically hunt for one street marshal along Nelson Mandela Avenue opposite FBC Bank in Harare because I needed to pay up as I would take long in the bank and did not want to risk having my car towed to a municipal yard which is way out of the CBD.
The other irritating experience is that a motorist has to pay $1 for each and every parking lot they leave a car even though an hour has not expired.
This has really made doing business in Harare’s CBD very difficult because one is always conducting transactions with fear of finding their car either clamped or towed away. An investigation has to be made as a matter of urgency because I strongly suspect that there could be an operation prejudicing council and its partners of lots of monies in parking fees.
Can you imagine how much a street marshal makes in a day if he or she does that to 10 motorists? There is definitely something going on and I am willing to bring the aforementioned people to testify if need be.
What these street marshals have to do is that they should issue tickets and leave them on vehicles, like some do, and then give time for the motorist to pay for the ticket. But, alas, you get into town early in the morning so as to go into a bank, one gets stuck in a long line and by the time they leave the bank, which could be an hour or so, the vehicle would have either been clamped or towed away.
This has instilled so much fear and uneasiness among the driving public who now try as much as possible to avoid the CBD.
I for one have avoided the CBD for nearly eight months and shop either in Avondale or at OK Marimba where there is ample free parking space.
Parking in Harare CBD is a nightmare.