BY SILAS NKALA
A BULAWAYO resident, James Nerutanga, has dragged the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to court demanding the cancellation of a vehicle parking management system contract awarded to a South African company, Tendy Three Investment (TTI).
Nerutanga cited TTI and BCC as first and second respondents, respectively, in his High Court application.
The city’s vehicle parking management system is managed by TTI under a build, operate and transfer (BOT) framework, where the South African firm designs, installs and maintains the parking system using its resources for an initial six-year period with the option of an extension of up to four years.
The new parking fees have been condemned by residents who said they were too steep considering the state of the economy.
Initially, motorists were paying US$1 for 30 minutes, but following an outcry, TTI now charges US$1 for an hour.
The local authority gets 30% of the proceeds with TTI getting the remaining 70% under the agreement.
In his founding affidavit, Nerutanga said he owned a Toyota Corolla registered with the Central Vehicle Registry and was in compliance with the council by-laws after he bought a parking disc from the council.
“I ordinarily park my car around the City of Bulawayo as I have been doing over the years. I gather that the first respondent has been given a contract to manage parking around the city,” Nerutanga submitted.
“I am not privy to the terms and conditions of the said contract, but what I have observed is that first respondent (TTI) is all over town installing parking meters and related infrastructure to charge residents US$1 for 30 minutes and so on and to that end, they have deployed an army of touts or employees who collect the money from motorists, including clamping vehicles and supervising the towing
Nerutanga said he was confronted by TTI employees who threatened to clamp his vehicle for not paying the parking fees despite the fact that he already had a parking disk from the local authority.
He claims this forced him to visit the company’s offices at Third Floor, Fidelity Life Centre to resolve the issue “amicably” with the management.
“The visit was on March 8, 2022 at 2:53pm and I was finally told they didn’t care about my valid parking disc and I must simply pay whatever was demanded,” he said.
Although Nerutanga said he was aware that TTI had a contract with the city council to manage parking around Bulawayo, he said he was not privy to the contract’s terms and conditions.
The council entered into a partnership with TTI in August last year after Cabinet approved the US$2,2 million vehicle parking management system deal, which was earmarked to run for a period of six years with an option to be extended for a further four years.
According to the agreement, the council could earn between US$1,1 million and US$1,5 million in revenue annually, which can be used to rehabilitate the city’s poor road network.