KDM launches controversial pay and park system

2017-10-25 06:00

KWADUKUZA Municipality (KDM) together with implementing agent Vusa Isipho Trading have officially launched the new paid parking system for the CBD at the council chambers on Monday, October 16.

The new system comes in lieu of October being Transport Month.

KwaDukuza Mayor Ricardo Mthembu and KDM councillor’s officiated the launch together with Vusa Isipho Trading management.

Mthembu welcomed the new system during his address to guests at the launch and said that such investments help to grow the economy and address the challenges of unemployment, poverty and creating jobs.

“This is also a time where we get to zoom in onto our initiatives in a concerted manner, this including the participation of the civil society for the provision of a safe and more affordable, accessible and reliable transport system,” said Mthembu.

The initiative is expected to create about 50 jobs and the recruitment process has already been finalised.

The initiative is aimed at beefing up security in the CBD.

“As much as the existing car-guards have been assisting with traffic management for their personal gains, this has come with challenges. These challenges I am referring to are vehicle theft where criminals have been using the traffic management attire under the pretext of car guards to confuse motorists. In the past, car guards have been harassing drivers within the CBD areas and their conduct has even put fear in people trying to park and shop in the CBD,” he added.

“Car guards have been known to be involved with criminals working in the CBD. The other dynamic is that opportunists [employ] their own car guards and deploy them in municipal infrastructure to enrich themselves. Those are some of the safety hazards that we have identified during our studies before we opted for this service. We also identified the need for the municipality to generate reasonable income to sustain the system.”

During the press briefing, Mthembu explained that the municipality did not have the capacity internally to carry out the project and had to make use of the service of an external service provider.

“The need for an effective parking system is of paramount importance and council has in the past, emphasised the importance of this system on a number of occasions. This initiative has been necessitated by a number of concerns from the public and it’s our key responsibility to ensure that we listen to our people when they speak and it remains our task to deliver on their wishes,” added Mthembu.

The scope of work for the service provider is to ensure that they provide a safe parking system for all motorists, Mthembu said.

“It is also to ensure that it up-skills and trains our unemployed youth with accredited courses, to ensure that criminal activities become a thing of the past through crime monitors who will be deployed throughout the CBD, to monitor and eliminate all illegal car guards, to provide an improved parking environment, to ensure that our monitors will use signage that is visible and clear and will provide important information in terms of directions and tariffs and to ensure that the parking facilities are used at an optimal level to ensure that congestion is reduced by using a central database that will indicate all parking statistics per parking bay. This will be carried out working jointly with our traffic and crime prevention unit.”

According to a statement from the municipality, tariffs for this new parking system for all designated areas will be charged at a rate of R6 per hour for which the official contract with the implementing agent is effective as off November 1.

The system will be implemented in all CBD areas. This includes Ballito, Shakaskraal, KwaDukuza town and so on.

According to Mthembu, all customers are expected to display their receipt for the time which payment has been made for on the dashboard of the vehicle.

“Exceeding the initial time period which has been paid for, will result in additional tariffs.

“The working hours on weekdays will be Monday to Friday: 8am -5pm. After 5pm parking will be free and on weekends (Saturday and Sunday) the working hours will be between 8am to 2pm.

“Nonetheless, we will further explain the technicalities of the system through awareness campaigns in the run-up to November 1,” he concluded.

The service is expected to become self sustaining over time, meaning the municipality won’t be using public funds to keep it running.

While a few community members viewed the paid parking system as an improvement, majority of the community has come out with a number of concerns and questions about the metered parking system.

A number of residents aired their views on social media, asking for answers from the mayor and councillors.

Glenhills resident Rishi Pooran said: “It’s sad this was not communicated to the people before the implementation. A road show would have been good. Everything is hush hush and to my knowledge its going to be R6 an hour to park which I believe is too high.

“[The] mayor needs to tell us how much KDM will get as it’s a private company that’s awarded with this contract and it’s also believed if you don’t pay for parking your registration will be logged in for a fine. [Do] the marshals in charge have the authority to issue fines and is it legal?”

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Another road user Nadia Marry commented: “Will the money go towards resurfacing roads and filling potholes? It’s bad enough we have some car guards troubling us without even keeping and eye on our cars, now this!”

Keshnee Williams said: “My issue is that if the municipality wants to introduce this to generate revenue disclose what the revenue will be used for. What is the current revenue being used for when the infrastructure in Stanger is well below par. Let’s fix the problems of mismanagement and using contractors that are unable to perform the required work. Stanger had previously utilised the parking tariff system but chose to forgo it. Why now the need to reintroduce it? Clarity must be provided.”
Molly Reddy asked: “What about public consultation meetings? Don’t the public have a say with regards to what is going to affect them directly? Do it the right way KwaDukuza. You are going to have a public outcry over this issue. Who exactly are the service providers?” The community also raised questions about how the service provider was selected.
Kevin Sampson asked: “Who is Vusa Isipho Trading? Why have we not heard of this company before and why wasn’t the metered parking system not put out to tender?”
Please share your thoughts with us by visiting the Stanger Weekly Facebook page.

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