By Ishemunyoro Chingwere
Central Business District (CBD) property owners are giving city of Harare’s vehicle parking arm, City Parking, a headache with their penchant for on-street parking as opposed to the option of parkades. This does not dovetail with the authority’s efforts to decongest the city.
The city is struggling with parking congestion as its 6 000 on-street parking bays are failing to cope with an average of 100 000 vehicles coming into town daily including those passing through.
Of the available parking bays, 1 200 are already taken up by Government departments and parastatals.
Zimbabwe, under the leadership of President Mnangagwa, has embarked on an aggressive pro-business drive and the unavailability of parking in the capital could be a hindrance.
In an interview with The Herald Business, City Parking public relations manager Mr Francis Mandaza, said the authority is also facing a new problem of property owners, office operators and businesses that are opting to pay for the full day for on-street parking in front of their buildings.
“People make the mistake that our interest on the streets is to make money,” said Mr Mandaza, “It’s a misconception. Our interest is to decongest the city and make it (easy to conduct business). We have people with properties in the CBD who then prefer to park in our on-street parking bays. On-street parking in Harare and even anywhere you go in the world is for short term and transactional purposes. A motorist should park for a few minutes or hours, do their business and leave the space for the next person to do their business.
“Our interest is that even if people are paying for the eight hour working day which is fine and should be commended, it is not their money that excites us, what we want is that they make use of our safe and secure parking bays which at just $3 a day is much cheaper and help us decongest the streets,” he said.
However, Mr Mandaza declined to comment on the progress of servicing roads as this does not fall under City Parking’s purview.
Local authority road maintenance is now being done through the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) since the road administration took over the collecting of motor vehicle licensing fees from local authorities.
Harare is currently benefiting under the $17 million Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme, which is part of Government’s 100 days priority quick plan that has already seen the resurfacing of several roads in the CBD and residential areas.