Bulawayo City Council has issued a stern warning to motorists who evade paying parking fees by removing wheel clamps from their vehicles, noting that the offence attracts a jail sentence.
This was said by council official, Acting Senior Security Traffic Officer, Ndumiso Ndlovu, in an interview with CITE on the progress of the city parking system, which is being implemented by Tendy Three Investments.
The officials were discussing the new parking packages set to be effected on June 1, 2023.
The packages come in three categories, Silver package pegged at US$30 per week, Gold Package pegged at US$60 per fortnight and US$90 per month.
Ndlovu said there are instances where clamped motorists remove the clamps from their cars and drive off, with some taking the clamps with them.
“That is a very serious offence where one can be reported to the police. According to the city by-laws, one can be jailed for up to a year or can be fined up to US$50 or both,” Ndlovu said.
He also emphasised that motorists should religiously adhere to the set regulations in accordance to the city by-laws to avoid being clamped.
“As a council, we are selling parking time. As such we have demarcated and clearly marked parking bays with white boundary lines which are either broken or solid. The ones demarcated with yellow lines are totally different and you have to fall into specific categories to park there. These are taxi bays, offloading bays, cyclist bays, ambulance etc,” Ndlovu said.
“However, by practice we do not clamp any vehicles where parking bays are not clear. The challenge comes up when you avoid the demarcated bays and park elsewhere. We also haver provisions for People with Disability whom we issue a special clearance letter that allows them to park as close as possible to where they are going. These can be issued at our offices and are valid for a year.”
BCC parking project manager, Vusisizwe Sibanda, explained that according to the city by-laws, motorists should pay first before leaving their cars.
“The system is pre-paid paring hence motorists should pay before they leave their cars however there are challenges that there are times when they will not be a rank marshal close by, issues of change or network it becomes difficult. We are therefore introducing a system where one can be able to pay before they leave,” Sibanda said.
“At the beginning of June, we are introducing a system where we are saying for the first five hours if you have not paid you will not get clamped. It is only after you have accumulated five hours that you will get clamped. This will benefit those who would have forgotten to pay. Accumulation of a debt of five dollars is quite justifiable for attracting a fine. The penalty would be clamping fee for $10, a fine of $10 and the amount that you would be owing for parking.”
Tendy Three Investments Chairman, Lizwe Mabuza, highlighted that they have improved their system to allow motorists to have a summary of money they owe should they have any arrears accrued.
“We have made changes to our systems. The system we have now is such that when the marshals print a ticket for you it will show the time you have paid, when it will expire and underneath it will show if you have arrears,” he said.
“These can be debts dating as far back as you have accumulated them. If the information is not very clear to you, you can ask for a detailed print out which will show the amount of time you parked and the location.”