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Bulawayo guns for most expensive city title

by Staff reporter
18 Feb 2022 at 05:33hrs | Views
BULAWAYO is fast becoming the country's most expensive city to live in following the latest rates increases ranging from 150 percent to over 600 percent, together with a new parking system that will see motorists paying US$1 for 30 minutes starting today.

Parking in the city centre will now come at a great cost for motorists because of the new system being implemented by Bulawayo City Council (BCC) in partnership with Tendy Three International (TTI) under a six-year build, operate and transfer framework.

According to the local authority, the project is being implemented in phases.

Zone One will cater for prime parking in the city covering Leopold Takawira Avenue to 11th Avenue and Fife Street to Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Street, and will start operating today at US$1 for 30 minutes.

Zone Two will be opearationalised afterwards and will see motorists parting with US$1 to park for an hour.

The parking fees can be paid in local currency at the prevailing official exchange rate.

The local authority will receive 30 percent of revenue, while TTI will take 70 percent.

TTI won the bid to implement the system in July 2020 and got the green light from Cabinet to start operations in August last year.

Using today's prevailing official exchange rate, US$1: $120, prime parking space will be $120 per 30 minutes in the prime zone.

To park there for eight hours a day, one has to part with $1 920 or US$16 which goes to $9 600 or US$80 in a five-day working week, translating to $38 400 or US$320 per month.

Paid parking is from 8AM to 5PM from Monday to Friday and 9AM to 1PM on Saturday. On Sunday and public holidays, parking is free.

BCC spokesperson Mrs Nesisa Mpofu said the parking fees will be collected by parking marshals.

"The project is being implemented under the build, operate and transfer (BOT) framework, where Tendy Three Investments (Pvt) Ltd designs, installs and maintains the parking system using its own resources for an initial six-year period with the option of an extension of up to four years.

Thereafter, the project will be transferred for a permanent takeover to the City of Bulawayo.

The proceeds during the contract period will be shared at a ratio of 70 percent to the counterpart and 30 percent to BCC," said Mrs Mpofu.

"The charge of US$1 per 30 minutes is for the prime parking zone. It should also be noted that there is a difference between a parking bay and a parkade. Parkades were/are constructed to accommodate longer parking times.

A parking bay is for customers and as such should not be a permanent parking spot.

This is to free the parking bay for clients or customers going into a building or shop.

It is not anticipated that one must occupy the parking bay for a full day."

Mrs Mpofu said employers can provide parking for their employees around the city centre.

"There are provisions for buildings within the Central Business District to provide onsite parking for their employees.

This is provided for through Local Plan No. 4 (Central Area), whereby buildings with multi-floors should provide parking (Basement, Parkade)," said Mrs Mpofu.

BCC yesterday also said the 2022 Budget has been approved by the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works.

In a statement, chamber secretary Ms Sikhangele Zhou said domestic rates, domestic water, sewerage and solid waste management have gone up by 150 percent.

This means if last year a resident was being billed $3 000 per month, as from this month, they will be paying around $7 500.

Access to stadia, swimming pools, hiring council facilities, hiring of ambulances have been increased by 450 percent

Last year, access to swimming pools cost $150.70 and now it will be $581.35 for adults and for children almost $300 up from about $50.

If one is in need of an ambulance, the cost last year was $723, but as of this month it will cost almost $4 000.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BUPRA) secretary for administration Mr Thembelani Dube yesterday said the new parking system and the new tariffs were an "albatross".

"Parking rates are too expensive for the ordinary residents, like in Zone One where it costs US$1 per 30 minutes.

What kind of business will you do in 30 minutes?

This will cause congestion at the periphery of the city as a lot of people will be leaving their cars there. Some people will decide to do their business at night as there are no parking fees that are charged. People are suffering as their income is being eroded every day," said Mr Dube.

Mr Dube said even the increase in rates will not help BCC, which is owed close to $2 billion by residents as they will struggle to pay.

"The rates that are being charged are an albatross for residents who are economically challenged.

The majority of them will not be able to pay these rates.

"Some people already have a long list of debtors and that list is going to be longer and increase because of that.

For businesses maybe some may pay, but at the end of the day, those rates will be channeled towards the residents and they are the ones who will bear the burden," said Mr Dube.

Source - The Chronicle