By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent
CHINHOYI Municipality’s decision to increase vehicle parking management fees has riled motorists, who describe the hike as exorbitant.
According to the new fees schedule seen by NewZimbabwe.com, the increases were affected on January 1, 2022 in conformity with this year’s council budget appropriations tabled for adoption during recent consultative meetings in all the municipality’s 15 wards.
Motorists using light vehicles now pay ZW$225 per hour to park in the central business district (CBD) while reserved parking now costs $564 per day.
Parking outside bay, undefined place or traffic lane and obstructing other traffic now attracts $2 300 penalty.
Penalties for various offences have also been increased with overnight parking in undesignated areas by heavy and light vehicles will attract $17 175 and 4 509, respectively.
Clamped vehicles impounded will see heavy vehicles in excess of 300 kilogrammes paying $9 581 while light cars attract $8 815 and kombis $6 707 per day.
Parking a kombi at closed ranks outside working hours attracts $11 836, while obstructing or kidnapping a traffic officer calls for a $59 178.
In separate interviews by NewZimbabwe.com, motorists said the new charges were steep.
Charles Murungweni, who incurred a $9 000 traffic ticket, pleaded with the municipality to review fees downwards.
Said Murungweni: “The parking fees and penalities are extortionate, council must consider reducing them because ordinary motorists will have their cars impounded and fail to reclaim their vehicles. Council will be overwhelmed with unclaimed cars if these figures remain unchanged.”
Chinhoyi mayor, Garikai Dendera said recent fees increases were necessitated by adopted figures agreed by residents during consultative meetings.
Dendera said: “New fees structures for parking management went through scrutiny by stakeholders. They became effective January 1, 2022 and needed not wait for approval of the budget by the Local Government minister (July Moyo), they take immediate effect.
“Residents, and motorists in particular, were afforded the opportunity to give their input, whether to increase or lower them, during the 2022 budget consultations held prior to Council sending the budget estimates to the parent ministry for approval. This is why we urge active stakeholder participation during these very important stakeholder engagements.”
Council spokesperson, Tichaona Mlauzi urged motorists to abide by local authority by-laws and comply with traffic management marshalls in enforcing the law.
He said the penalties were deterrent to avoid chaos and congestion in the CBD.
Chinhoyi Municipality late last year took over traffic management services from a private contractor, Clyna Trading, after terminating a five-year deal that allegedly exposed council to financial prejudice running into millions of dollars.
Following the takeover, council is reportedly recording daily revenue collections way above those declared by the private traffic management firm, which was also booted out in Chitungwiza and Karoi.