Harare residents have urged the local authority to reform its city parking business following an outcry over clamping fees and fines imposed on motorists.
The Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) said it had followed the debate on the operations of City Parking and the Harare municipal traffic enforcement police, both entities under the City of Harare and was concerned about the issue.
“The organisation notes that the City of Harare has been largely dishonest about the financial relationship that exists between the traffic enforcement police and City Parking with evidence suggesting that the Harare municipal traffic enforcement police has dismally failed to sustain itself despite making hundreds of arrests of traffic offenders,” HRT said.
“Consequently, the traffic enforcement department has been getting money to pay its staff and operations from funds diverted from other performing council departments.
“The City of Harare has authorised City Parking to clamp illegally parked vehicles in the central business district since 20 February 2023.”
Motorists are being fined US$132 for parking without paying parking fees or exceeding paid- for time.
“The cost of US$1 per hour and the punitive fine of US$132 have no relationship and do not make economic sense,” HRT said.
“There are several options available to City Parking and the City of Harare than simply clamping vehicles.
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“Most importantly, they have to increase their area of coverage and strengthen the control of traffic in the central business district.”
HRT added: “A lot of Mushika-shikas and kombis defy traffic laws with impunity, and they actually seem to do all that with the consent of the Harare municipal traffic enforcement police.
“The key question that should be bothering policymakers and bureaucrats in the City of Harare is on the operations of the Harare municipal traffic enforcement.”
A Harare resident Reason Mupanga recently approached the High Court seeking an order declaring the practice of impounding vehicles over the parking fees unlawful.
Last month Harare councillors led by mayor Jacob Mafume met Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa where a review of the fines and management of the parking system was discussed.
The CCC leader is said to have ordered his councillors to review the fines.