By Yeukai Karengezeka
Motorists are likely to start behaving in Harare’s central business district (CBD) where council effects a 700 percent increase in clamping and towing fines tomorrow.
The punitive charges, which have since been approved by the Government, seek to discourage illegal parking and other traffic offences.
This is expected to restore order in the CBD which has been characterised by chaos as motorists defied parking rules.
Offenders now have to pay between $500 and $900 to have their vehicles released.
The city’s acting communications manager, Mr Innocent Ruwende, said the new fines sought to instil discipline.
“Yes, we have increased clamping and tow-away fines for illegally parked vehicles and those that violate the city’s traffic regulations,” he said.
“The new charges for traffic violations have been made a bit punitive to prevent accidents and restore sanity in the central business district where lawlessness has become the order of the day. In the UK, it costs between 50 to 200 pounds.”
Prior to the latest increase, the charges ranged between $57 and $90.
Wheel clamping of light motor vehicles will now cost $500, up from $57, a 15-seater commuter omnibus will be charged $600, while the owner of an 18-seater will pay $700.
Conventional buses and lorries will now be penalised $800 and articulated heavy lorries $900.
For towed vehicles, charges will now range from $500 to $800, depending with the type of the vehicle.
Light motor vehicles will now be charged $500, while tow away fines for a 15-seater commuter omnibus and that of an 18-seater are now pegged at $700 and $800, respectively.
Conventional buses, lorries and articulated heavy lorries will attract contractor charges and additional 50 percent for storage and value added tax.
Commenting on the city’s official page, motorists expressed mixed feelings over the new fines.
“You do realise you are going to kill business more in the CBD, because parking marshals are never there when you park and then you get clamped immediately thereafter,” said Dusty Joosab.
“You are not making it a Sunshine City by killing the business. There are plenty other issues that need more attention, but are neglected.”
Lenon Mundeta said: “A fine that is not affordable only benefits the marshal who is bribed to remove the clamp.”
Mr Webster Mawondera said the traffic enforcement team should help in controlling traffic at intersections.
“I agree, we need order in town, but your traffic enforcement must also help control traffic at busy intersections when traffic lights are not working,” he said.
“In most cases, these intersections end up being controlled by airtime vendors and street kids.
“Some of the money from clamping must go towards servicing and repairing traffic lights.”
Tawanda Njuga said: “But I do not understand why people are mad over the prices. Just don’t break the law if it is too much money. At the same time, council should always place reasonable grounds for clamping or impounding and not make it a fund raiser.” The Herald