ZAPU petitions council on parking fees

ZAPU has urged the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to develop a capacity to enforce by-laws and stop punishing residents for their shortcomings by introducing harsh policies that are not alive to the city’s prevailing harsh economic realities.

The party made this call in its petition on parking fees submitted to the council on Monday, noting that the exorbitant fees seemed to be a deterrent to people who were selling their wares from their cars and illegal money changers commonly known as Osiphatheleni.

“We feel this is punishing non-selling residents from the crimes of those who are selling. In any case, those who do business from cars are more likely to afford these parking fees and generally they do business early morning or in the evenings hence the problem will not go away,” read the petition.

“We petition City Council to develop the capacity to enforce by-laws and stop punishing innocent residents for their shortcomings.”

BCC in partnership with Tendy Three Investments introduced a new parking management system where motorists were paying US$1 for a 30-minute prime parking spot and US$1 for an hour parking spot in other zones.

However, this received serious backlash from residents and senior government officials who bemoaned the exorbitant fees forcing the local authority to reduce charges last Friday.

In its petition, ZAPU noted that as it stands residents have been used primarily as a cash cow with no guarantee the generated revenue generated would be channelled into the Bulawayo economy.

The party also questioned the partnership agreement made by BCC and Tendy Three, noting it came against a background where in the last seven years, there was a rise of corruption allegations against councillors, adding it was also evident that there was little consultation with residents, which led to a lot of conspiracies.

“We petition City Council to within seven days, make public proof that council indeed did solicit for a partnership of this nature, council resolutions relevant to this partnership, identities of other companies that competed for the same tender with Tendy Three and entire details of the tender process, the actual partnership agreement between BCC and Tendy Three clearly showing how the 70/30 percent share was arrived at.

“We will also be interested in what other services Tendy Three provides or is to provide to the city council under this partnership or in separate arrangements so as to allay fears of having a private company running the City’s CCTV. The identities of the owners, partners, shareholders (whatever the case may be and management of Tendy Three. Proof that City Council has no capacity to enforce parking even under the new partnership resulting in the need to have Tendy Three having to employ its own staff. Whether or not the locals are prioritised when Tendy Three is employing.”

ZAPU also urged BCC to designate, design and develop cheaper secure parking areas in the peripheries of the CBD for those who need parking for extended periods and protect parking spaces for residents who reside in the CBD.

 “The council must also expedite the finalisation of the eGodini project so as to reduce congestion in the CBD. In the event that the initial plan for the project has failed City Council must quickly find a remedy so that the eGodini terminus is quickly utilised,” read the petition.

ZAPU Secretary-General, Mthulisi Hanana, said “as a political party we are not fighting with council but as stakeholders were representing the residents’ grievances.”

In response, Bulawayo Town Clerk, Christopher Dube, said the petition illustrated that ZAPU was absent from the council consultations.

“It’s also clear you didn’t engage with city councillors who are your legal representatives. In future, you must come and we discuss. I urge you to prioritise the councillors, who even are not from your party, are civic leaders representing all residents,” he said, but added, “as a listening council we will respond to the petition”

Bulawayo Deputy Mayor, Mlandu Ncube, however, commended ZAPU for coming forward to seek clarity.

“This is what stakeholders do, raising flags where they think there is a problem and it is the council’s responsibility to explain if an error was made. We will treat this petition accordingly,” he said.

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