Harare Residents Trust has criticised Harare City Council for introducing parking fees in the Avenues area and other streets near the city centre, noting some residents have to park in the streets and that the council’s joint venture with EasiPark is failing to demonstrate its ability to use funds raised from parking.
EasiPark has failed over the years to declare any dividends to the city, forcing the council to form Harare Parking, a company which it manages on its own.
HRT director Mr Precious Shumba yesterday said council had failed on the EasiPark deal since there was no transparency.
“As HRT we see this move by the council as unfair to residents because the EasiPark deal has not demonstrated its ability to use public funds and there is no transparency in the use of funds it has been collecting since the beginning of 2014,” he said.
Mr Shumba said the increase in parking charges would only increase revenue without any improvement on the poor road network and congestion that needed immediate attention. He urged the city council to explore other avenues for revenue generation rather than continue expanding areas for parking.
“The council should consider the issue that some residents who park in the Avenues area do not have space inside their flat premises,” said Mr Shumba.
“Residents parking outside health centres should also not be inconvenienced to find their vehicles clamped. That worsens their situation.”
Motorists also complained that they could not afford paying the parking fees as they were already burdened by other statutory obligations. “This is so disheartening,” said Ms Milcent Sandu. “We were parking in the Avenues and walking to town so as to avoid paying for parking in the CBD. This was a measure we had taken to save the little that we are earning.”
Council spokesperson Mr Leslie Gwindi said there was no going back on the expansion of the parking charges.
“This is a question of revenue to the city and like what the mayor (Mr Bernard Manyenyeni) said, we are on life support and need revenue,” he said.
He said the Avenues area was council land and the city would proceed with the plan to increase its revenue streams.