PMB parking R6/hour

2012-10-26 00:00

MOTORISTS in Pietermaritzburg have just one week to get used to the idea of paying for parking in the CBD, which starts as a pilot project on November 1.

After last paying for the facility about eight years ago, it is expected that motorists will be asked to cough up at rates of R5 and R6 an hour, depending on where in the city centre they park.

At yesterday’s Msunduzi executive committee (Exco) meeting, it was announced that a three-year contract had been awarded to Panzascore to run the system.

The new system uses marshalls who will use hand-held devices to record the duration a car has parked in a bay, said municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi. Drivers will be asked to pay on return to their vehicles.

To facilitate operation of the system, new bylaws are required as the old laws relate to fixed meters.

Nkosi said the normal 21-day period for public comment regarding proposed bylaws would be shortened to 14 days in this instance.

At yesterday’s Exco meeting, Democratic Alliance councillor Mergan Chetty criticised Panzascore’s presentation on the system as being of “a sub-standard quality”. This sentiment was echoed by committee members of all political parties.

Chetty said the proposal was that 40% of income from parking tariffs would go to the marshals. Of the remainder, 25% would go to Msunduzi and 75% to Panzascore.

From an amount of R100, R40 would go to the marshals, R15 to Msunduzi and R45 to Panzascore.

“I am sure you’ve done the maths and it is Panzascore who receives the bulk and Msunduzi that receives the least,” Chetty said.

Other concerns raised included how the issuing of fines would be managed.

Chetty said the service level agreement (SLA) for the system was not attached to the recommendations sent to Exco. He said neither Exco nor the community services committee had seen the agreement.

“This is a further indictment of officials undermining councillors and their recommendations,” he said.

The Witness has established that two of Panzascore’s four directors are Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business president Paris Dlamini and local businessman Riquadeu Jacobs.

Both said there was nothing underhanded in the awarding of the contract.

They are businessmen with diverse interests and had got involved in Panzascore as a business opportunity, they said.

Dlamini said that the municipality’s contract with his Ekuseni Personnel Consultants employment agency had long expired and he had no other contracts with the municipality.

Dlamini said he got involved in Panza­score because it fitted in well with another company that he owns involving vehicle tracking systems.

He said the parking contract involved a consortium, with the technical expertise coming from a partner, Dynamic Parking Systems, a national entity specialising in parking solutions. He said Panzascore won the bid because it had an integrated system that had been successfully used in other municipalities, including Midvaal.

“The good thing about the system is that it employs a lot of people,” he said.

Dlamini disputed Chetty’s figures, saying his calculations show that out of R100, R40 goes to the marshalls, R25 to Msunduzi and R35 to Panzascore.

Jacobs, who has the contract to publish the council’s newspaper, said he was a minority shareholder in Panzascore and not involved in its day-to-day running. He said Panzascore bid for the contract because it was a business opportunity with a key feature being local job creation.

Municipal spokesperson Brian Zuma said 500 parking bays had been identified for use in the pilot phase.

THE Witness asked municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi about the contract.

Q:What is the value of the contract?

A : We will not pay the service provider anything. We will enter into a profit-sharing agreement and receive approximately 25% of the profit.

Q: How many bids were there for the contract?

A: I am not sure of the number of bids, but five were shortlisted and invited to make presentations to the Strategic Management Committee on the functionality of their programmes, as well as the financial benefits to the municipality.

Q: On what basis was Panzascore awarded the contract?

A: Panzascore was appointed through an open and competitive tender process and recommended by both the municipal bid evaluation as well as bid adjudication committees.

Q: Questions were raised on the cost to council. Do you agree with the breakdown presented by Councillor Chetty?

A: Our position is that the municipality can never be a loser in this regard. The municipality will collect 25% of revenue it previously had no access to. Also, should we so decide, we can take over the process after three years and make more money. This time around the purpose was to introduce a system that had been absent for almost a decade and, due to a number of service delivery challenges, it made sense to outsource this service for now. There will be no financial loss to the municipality as this is a revenue-generating exercise where we will participate in profit-sharing without incurring costs.

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