By Anyway Yotamu
Harare City Council has increased clamping and towing charges in a move to rein in errant motorists in the central business district (CBD) with a 700 percent spike starting Thursday 12 December 2019.
The charges, which have since been approved by the Government, seek to discourage illegal parking and other traffic offences in the Sunshine city.
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.
City of Harare Acting Communications Manager, Mr Innocent Ruwende, said the new fines sought to restore order and discipline to motorists.
“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.”
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 heavy trucks $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 heavy trucks , lorries and buses will attract contractor charges and additional 50 percent for storage and tax.
Commenting on the city’s official page, motorists expressed mixed feelings over the new fines.
“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.”