Gweru City Council efforts to force transporters to park within Kudzanai bus terminus for as much as $10 per hour for buses faced resistance in the Midlands capital last Monday.
In the end, the overpowered and outnumbered parking marshals left with their tails between their legs, a pale shadow of their usually militant self.
In a statement town clerk Daniel Matau said any additional parking time was supposed to be paid for at applicable tariffs.
“The fixed parking period of one hour within the rank shall commence on Monday 13 April 2015. The move is in line with requirements of Statutory Instrument 53 of 2012 Gweru (long distance omnibus station) By Laws,” warned Matau.
However the transporters argued that they spent as much as five hours in the terminus, and paying $50 in parking fees was ‘insanity.’
”We would rather council increase parking fees, and we make one-off payments than paying for every next hour spent in the rank. In this harsh economic environment, where do we get the money?” said Tomlinson Bobo of Pfochez Logistics.
An Elite Coaches loader who refused to be identified added his concerns. “Hazvishandi chinhu izvi, and we will resist the move. Apart from them (council) we pay traffic police at the rank exit $10 everyday, regardless of the roadworthiness of our vehicles, the availability of route authorisation, driver licence and defensive driving certificates.”
Struggling to pay workers who have resorted to make daily protests, council raises an average $7,000 every day in parking and clamping fees.
Denise Rusoso, who portrayed corrupt cop VaMayaya in Sabhuku Vharazipi and Mayaya: Seed Of Corruption movies, vowed not to return to the city of 300,000 any time soon citing ‘exhorbitant’ parking penalty fees after he was caught in the net.
“There is not enough education in terms of where to acquire the parking discs, and how to mark them, moaned Rusoso.
At a state of service delivery meeting hosted by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) held at the mayor’s parlour last month, Assistant Town Clerk responsible for public relations Tapiwa Marerwa admitted council had overlooked educating motorists on the new system.
“There is need for education, and resources permitting, motorists need to be well-informed about our parking system.”
Zimbabwe Human Rights Association Director, Okay Machisa, has also labelled parking marshals as corrupt, saying junior employees tasked to issue pre-paid parking licenses solicited bribes from motorists.
His official vehicle had been clamped by marshals who demanded a bribe from him in order to release it, with the fracas attracting a sizeable crowd in the city centre. Machisa ended up exchanging harsh words with workers over the matter, before later paying a $45 fine.
“The incident shows that this is the way the council guys – perhaps with the blessing of their supervisors – operate. It’s corruption at its best and there is a need for action to be taken so that the rights of motorists are protected,” Machisa was quoted as saying.