A Bulawayo resident has taken Tendy Three Investments (Pvt), the company which manages the city’s vehicle management parking system to the High Court, seeking cancellation of parking fees he supposedly owes.
James Nerutanga of Pumula South suburb represented by Ndlovu Mehluli and partners in case number HC509/22 argues he was not meant to be charged as he was a holder of a valid parking disc, which he applied for, paid and secured until its expiry on March 8, 2022.
The valid parking disc was for him to park his car around the City of Bulawayo and he cited the local authority as the second respondent.
“I ordinarily park my motor vehicle around the City of Bulawayo as I have been doing over the years including but not limited to the area around 8th Avenue and Jason Moyo Street, Bulawayo, an area which covers significant and identifiable areas like Edgars Stores, Innscor, Nandos, CBZ Bank and LAPF House, ZB Bank and Old Mutual,” he said in his application, noting he has business interests around that area.
The parking system costs have received serious backlash from residents and senior government officials who bemoaned the exorbitant fees forcing the local authority to reduce charges two weeks ago.
Nerutanga said while going about his business, using his vehicle along 8th Avenue and Jason Moyo, he was confronted by Tendy Three employees who demanded he pay for parking or else they would clamp his vehicle or subject it to penalties with the Central Vehicles Registry and the city council offices.
He handed over his copy of his valid parking disc to Tendy Three officers that stated he could lawfully park anywhere in the city until the March 8, 2022 expiry date but this led to several altercations where Tendy Three employees made open threats insisting he has to pay the parking fees.
This prompted him to visit the company’s offices at Third Floor, Fidelity Life Centre to resolve the issue “amicably” with the management.
“The visit was on March 8. 2022 at 14.53pm and I was finally told they don’t care about my valid parking disc and I must simply pay whatever was demanded,” he said.
Although Nerutanga said he is aware that Tendy Three has a contract with the city council to manage parking around Bulawayo, he was not privy to the contract’s terms and conditions.
He observed that Tendy Three is “all over town, installing parking meters and related infrastructure to charge residents between US$1 for 30 minutes” adding to that end, the company “deployed an army of touts or employees who collect the money from motorists or bill them accordingly including clamping the vehicles and supervising the towing away.”
“Curiously, the second respondent gets a profitable 30 percent of the fees I pay. Previously I paid directly as I did until March 8, 2022.”
At Tendy Three’s offices, Nerutanga said he was also advised he was already owing US$12 as a penalty for their parking fees, which would accumulate further on a daily basis.
“I am unaware of the current unlawful unpaid parking fees bill,” he said in his application.
“I am advised by my legal practitioners and I accept the advice that the first respondent is acting unlawfully in violating my contractual arrangement and agreement for parking disc and access to parking around the city of Bulawayo until the expiry of the parking disc. My contractual rights have obviously been violated.”
Nerutanga added the city council’s failure to protect his rights and interest, violates the administrative justice as enshrined in the Administrative Justice Act and Zimbabwe’s constitution.
“I accordingly pray that there be a declaratory order that the actions of the first respondent in not allowing me to park anywhere within the city is null and void and consequently any bills that are charged up to March 8, 2022 are a violation of my contractual administrative constitutional rights and the said charges must be set aside and also that Tendy Three for occasioning that I file this application to protect my rights by seeking a declarator I am seeking costs of suit on an attorney client scale,” he said.
“The first respondent individually and both respondents jointly must be declared to be acting unlawfully and cost must follow the cause.”