Cash strapped Gweru city council has engaged a Harare City Council private parking entity, City Park, to run its parking deparment in a move that has drawn the ire of some residents who feel the move will further bleed the council.
Gweru city introduced the parking system some four years ago which is old and manual with authorities saying they have been failing to make profit.
Gweru mayor, Councillor Josiah Makombe, confirmed that the city had since entered into partnership with City Park to run the parking department.
He said some feasibility studies had revealed that leasing the parking department to a private entity would help council double its revenue collection.
“We have done some feasibility studies on this and we have realised that there are more advantages in partnering City Park than running it on our own.
“I know people have been resistant with some people complaining that we can’t give enforcement of a by-law to a private entity,” he said.
Clr Makombe said there were a lot of corrupt and underhand dealings in the city’s parking department hence the decision to give it to a private entity to run.
The parking department was even failing to raise enough money to pay workers in that department.
“There has been a lot of rot within the council’s parking department. Imagine the department failing to raise enough money to pay workers for its workers yet we have more cars that park in the city everyday than the number of ratepayers in Gweru,” he said.
Clr Makombe said the City Park would bring in new technology in the parking system and would run the parking department for the next five years.
“They are brining equipmwmt so it is an investment. We will be learning as the local authority while preparibg to eventually take over,” he said.
Councillor Makombe allayed fears of job losses in Gweru parking department saying some employees would be retained by City Park while others would be redeployed.
Some residents said council could have saved money by improving efficiency in its parking system instead of outsourcing expertise.
“I believe it is a waste of time and resources. Instead of giving it to some private entity which will charge them and us motorists, the local authority should have invested in finding solutions to curb leakages in the department so they can improve on revenue.
“These private entities are coming to siphon money from council which is already struggling financially,” said one resident, Mr Martin Chigango.
Another resident , Ms Zvikomborero Majoni said Gweru city fathers should have consulted residents before making the decision.
“The move they took is very expensive. It will take ages before they realise any profit because City Park will be arguing that they are recovering costs,” she said