Msunduzi parking fines affect many

2014-06-05 00:00

“THAT’S my story!” Maureen Ruiters exclaimed as she read about Senzile Madlala’s R5 550 parking bill shock in yesterday’s Witness.

Ruiters says the story mirrors her own experience with the Panzascore parking system that operates in the Pietermaritzburg city centre. She is currently seeking legal advice on her matter.

For allegedly owing R7 to R1 for each of seven violations, she faces a legal bill of R5 524. Madlala was slapped with a bill of R5 550 for 16 violations amounting to R36.

Ruiters too has to deal with a Port Shepstone law firm and questioned why a Pietermaritzburg based parking system was using out-of-town lawyers.

Ruiters said that out of the blue she received a call from a law firm asking her to cough up for an outstanding parking fee. She was told she owed R300 for a parking violation for failing to pay R1. “I was shocked. I asked to speak to the person in charge and was put through to a supervisor, who said that I had other violations. I said I don’t know what you are talking about and [asked them to] send me proof. They sent a print-out showing the seven violations where I allegedly owed a rand each time. For this, I was fined R300 on each count and had to pay a R350 legal fee as well.”

Ruiters added that like Madlala if she exceeded her parking time she always paid the top up.

What infuriated her, was that she never received any notification from anyone that she owed money. She is even more indignant at being told that she would be charged daily interest by the attorney for every day that she did not pay up.

Ruiters went to the local Consumer Commissioner to lay a complaint. They were baffled by the issue and were not sure how they could help.

They did tell her however, that she could not just be slapped with legal fees. She should have been notified first and given a chance to pay. Besides seeking legal advice, Ruiters posted her problem on Facebook. She heard from a woman who said that she had driven into a parking bay and when she bent down to pick up her handbag realised she had left it at home. She told the parking attendant and immediately drove off to go back home and get her purse, which she needed to do her shopping. When she received a phone call demanding a hefty sum for a parking violation, she thought it was a scam until she saw what Ruiters had posted on Facebook. The woman believed that the parking attendant must have entered her number plate and when she drove off, failed to cancel the transaction. — WR.

ANOTHER resident, Peter Jewell, has also been slapped with a hefty fine.

Jewell said he received a call from a woman claiming to represent a debt collection company appointed by the Msunduzi Municipality about two weeks ago.

“She said I owed them R2 300 arising from a parking fine I had apparently not paid. She said that because I did not pay R3 to an attendant, that I had received a fine in the post and that because I had not paid the fine, I had been handed over to them for collection and that the cost was now R2 300.

“I have never received any form of notification from the city and was totally unaware of what she was on about.”

He said he fully supports the new parking system as it makes it much easier to find parking in town now.

“However there may well be a problem arising with the process of fine implementation.”

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