BY SILAS NKALA
PROMINENT Bulawayo lawyer Bruce Israel Masamvu has sued the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) over its parking management, which has resulted in motorists forking out US$1 per hour.
BCC contracted Tendy Three Investments (TTI) to manage city parking.
The US$1 charge per hour has resulted in the city’s parking bays being deserted because most motorists cannot afford.
Through his law firm Masamvu & DA Silva-Gustavo Law Chambers, Masamvu filed his application at the Bulawayo High Court on August 1, citing BCC and TTI as respondents.
Earlier, he had written to Bulawayo town clerk Christopher Dube and TTI a letter dated June 28, in which he requested to be given written reasons on their notice reference number 265837641 of June 27, 2022 on his vehicle AFE 7276 whereby they demanded payment of US$11 for parking in the central business district.
He said in some of the parking instances he was being charged for; he had only parked for five minutes, but was charged US$1.
The letter was not responded to prompting him to slap the council and TTI with a lawsuit.
In his founding affidavit, Masamvu submitted: “I frequently have to park my vehicle in drivers parking places within the jurisdiction of BCC. Particularly, I usually park my vehicle along 8th Avenue or Joshua Nkomo Street as my place of work is located at Stanbic building at corner Joshua Nkomo and 8th Avenue. On February 18, BCC and TTI introduced, and commenced a partnership concerned with parking management in the city of Bulawayo.
“I gather from print and digital news articles that in terms of the partnership, TTI will build and operate parking management systems and ultimately transfer the same to BCC. Relevant to this application, on March 18, BCC town clerk published a notice. Therein, it was announced that commencing on March 21; Bulawayo’s central business district will attract a fee of US$1 per hour for each parking bay/zone.”
Masamvu further argues that council and TTI have subjected him to administrative action which he considers adverse to his interests, and, or legitimate expectations insofar as parking fees are concerned.
“On June 27, TTI made out to me a notice of unpaid parking fees with reference number 265847624. On that date, in terms of this notice, I purportedly owe US$11 in unpaid parking fees. On July 11, a further notice bearing a reference number same as the last was made out to me for unpaid parking fees totalling US$11,” he submitted.
“On receiving the notice I made the observation that in terms of the notices, the unpaid parking fees I purportedly owe are for dates between April 26 and July 1. Importantly, I further noted that for every portion of time which did not constitute an hour, I was charged US$1. However, this charging regime was never communicated to me. I noted that TTI’s parking devices have been programmed such that each portion of time which does not constitute an hour is rounded upwards to an hour.”
He said on June 30, he parked his car in bay number Q52 at 9:53am. At 11:02am, before removing his car he purchased a ticket for the time he was parked at bay Q52 for an hour and nine minutes. He said his ticket showed that he parked until 11:53, but TTI charged him US$2 as though he had parked for two hours.
The lawyer narrated several other incidents wereby he parked for less than an hour, but was charged U$1.
He now wants council and TTI to explain their administrative actions and to pay the cost of the suit.
BCC and TTI are yet to respond to the application.
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