By Thobekile Khumalo
Bulawayo City Council (BCC) and residents’ conflict over the exorbitant parking system introduced after the city controversially awarded a tender to a local company have escalated.
The company Tendy Three Investments (TTI) entered into partnership with BCC last year to manage the city’s smart parking system meant to last for six years.
This has has been received with mixed emotions by some residents who feel the deal was prematurely and controversially reached at.
Residents are demanding back their parking space and together with business owners last week gathered to protest at the City Hall demanding the removal of the parking system in the CBD area and also wrote a petition to the council.
Farai Manganda, businessman and team leader delivered the petition to the Mayor and Town Clerk on behalf of others demanding that the system be suspended.
“The lack of due diligence by BCC ended up in the imposition of an unfriendly and abnormally expensive parking system to the business community and the residents at large. This is being done through questionable tender processes and without contract disclosure to the public.
“Awarding TTI the Bulawayo central business district (CBD) parking system tender was a clear sign that BCC leadership was not thorough enough in its selection criteria. They contravened section 298 (Public Finance Management Act),” read the petition.
Among many other reasons, residents complain that the parking system has killed their businesses and that many workers are now being forced to commute to work because parking fees are beyond the reach of many.
“In past years, council was in the habit of approaching businesses in the CBD on matters it considered important, which had a positive bearing on business development in the city such as the Annual Open Street Mall which the business community seconded,” read the petition.
In response to the petition, BCC town clerk Christopher Dube said as city council they are looking into the petition and will need time to respond to it as it touches on a lot of issues that have to be dealt with diligently.
“We acknowledge the receipt of your petition on 22 August 2022. We note that the council was given 72 hours to respond to the issues raised. Unfortunately we are unable to meet that deadline in view of the fact that the petition raises a number of issues that require a detailed response. In light of that we will be sending our detailed response by the end of the 2nd of September 2022. Our sincere apologies for the delay, ” read the response.