It's a bumpy, tearful start
MBABANE - The park and pay system got off to a bumpy and tearful start in the capital city yesterday.
A 40-year-old man of Mbabane, Nkululeko Mncina, yesterday shed tears after he discovered that his car had been clamped by personnel from the ‘park and pay’ along the Gwamile Street while in other quarters many motorists complained about the systems’ terms, especially the payments.
Motorists are now required to pay E2.50 per half hour or E15 for an all day parking voucher.
Mncina operates a taxi business next to the Green Room in Mbabane.
He said he left his car on Monday afternoon after it developed a mechanical fault, only to discover it clamped the following morning. He said the attendant told him that his car would only be released upon payment of a E100 fine, which he did not have.
"I do not have the money they are demanding and what pains me is that the place where I parked my car is not marked to show that is was also under the new system," he said.
By the time of compiling this report, Mncina had not paid the fine and the officials were threatening to tow the car.
The vouchers are sold by appointed airtime and street vendors along with businesses in Mbabane.
They, in turn, will earn a commission from the sales. The vouchers can be bought in advance and they remain valid until scratched.
The Mbabane Municipal Council had said the aim of the system was to control and regulate parking in order to manage the high demand for parking in the Central Business District (CBD).
It is to ensure more efficient use of parking spaces, thus making the CBD attractive to consumers and entrepreneurs as well as making it easier to do business in.
Short term parking, defined as being from zero to four hours, is designed to cater for motorists who come to the CBD for short-term shopping.
The aim is to discourage all-day parking in these areas, for instance by employees who spend the greater part of the day in their respective places of employment.
Long term parking, on the other hand, is designed to cater for half or all-day parking such as employees, businesspeople, entrepreneurs and visitors to the city and is defined as above four hours to a day.
... businessmen call for 15-minute grace period
MBABANE – Businesspeople have said the Mbabane Municipal Council should have placed a 15-minute grace period when introducing the park and pay system.
They said the number of people who come into their shops has declined.
They complained that it was unfair to charge customers E2.50 when they had just parked their vehicles to do business for a few minutes.
The E2.50 is charged for parking within a period of 30 minutes.
One of the businesspeople, Yvonne Selby from Webster’s along Dzeliwe Street, said the council should have considered exempting the places in front of their business as this idea was driving away their customers.
"As you can see, there are no customers and this is an indication that the system is affecting our business. I think the City Council should have considered leaving the spaces in front of the places where we operate our businesses," she said.
Another businessman, Thami Mahlalela, who operates Orbitech System along Gwamile Street, said he felt council did not consider a number of things before introducing the park and pay system.
"We are not against the council introducing this system, but our concern is the way it is being handled. When it was proposed, we thought it would be similar to the Pakani system in Manzini, but this one seems to be different," he said.