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CSOs push for review of BCC parking fees

Civic Society Organisations (CSOs) in Bulawayo have demanded that the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) review downwards the parking fees as they are beyond the reach of motorists.

In a meeting between stakeholders and the council, the CSOs reiterated that the local authority did not fully consult residents to get their input on the project.

The city’s vehicle parking management system is managed by Tendy Three Investments (TTI) who were awarded the tender by the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) under a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) framework where TTI designs, installs and maintains the parking system using its own resources (US$2.2million) for an initial six-year period with the option of an extension of up to four years.

BCC is set to benefit 30 percent of the collected revenue while TTI retains 70 percent. 

For a 30-minute prime parking slot, motorists will have to pay US$1 or an equivalent in local currency.

Rodwin Sibanda of Habakkuk Trust noted that the charged amount, in relation to what the people earn, is too much for motorists to bear. 

“Some of the amounts being charged here are almost equivalent to those charged in first world countries. In those countries it makes sense because the money they earn allows for such budgets, in our local context it’s a totally different story,” said Sibanda. 

Nkosikhona Dibiti of Community Podium argued that the system being employed would not yield the desired results as the council is decongesting part of the city while congesting the other. 

He said the system will drive informal traders out of the city center-a development which would result in more cases of criminal offences as people try to make ends meet. 

“The amount being charged may be affordable for money changers because they have no fixed rentals. Imagine what would happen to entrepreneurs and formerly employed people. They wouldn’t be able to pay these ridiculous amounts,” Dibiti said. 

Sidumo Bhebhe of PPRIZ accused the council of using flawed methods to implement policies, stating it (council) was not effectively consulting residents on issues that affect them directly. 

Meanwhile, the city council has defended its position to maintain the parking system, citing that companies should utilise rented parking spaces and leave other spaces for those who need services from various shops. 

BCC Corparate Communications Manager Nesisa Mpofu said there are 21 buildings in the city that have parking spaces which can be utilised by those who work the whole day in town.  

She said consultations were made by the council with various stakeholders but there is a possibility that information was not cascaded as expected to all the relevant people. 

The parking management system project manager Vusisizwe Sibanda said the parking system has always been in place at the same price, the only difference there is, is that now it is being strictly enforced. 

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