Gweru City Council Implements Overnight Clamping
29 February 2024
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In a bold move to address its financial woes, the Gweru City Council has introduced a new overnight clamping policy, catching motorists off-guard with a US$85 cash fine for improper parking. This measure aims to bolster the council’s revenue amidst reports of owing employees three months’ salary arrears.

“This initiative was born out of necessity,” said a council source, indicating that the decision followed a management meeting focused on enhancing revenue streams. Mr. Tapiwa Marerwa has been charged with leading the effort, which includes a round-the-clock payment center at the Town House for collecting fines.

The community has responded with shock and dismay, criticizing the council for adopting what many see as excessively punitive measures against the populace.

Gweru Mayor, Councillor Martin Chivoko, while confirming the enforcement action, downplayed the need for a specific by-law. “Motorists clamped at night are either parked at undesignated points or dangerously, posing a risk to others. They’ll be fined for these infractions,” he stated.

Legal perspectives challenge the council’s approach, particularly the absence of a formal by-law to legitimize the 24-hour clamping operation. “Legal precedent dictates that clamping zones and hours be clearly marked,” noted Gweru lawyer, Ms. Constance Madzudzu. She argues that the council’s extension of clamping into the night, beyond previously established parameters, stands on shaky legal ground.

The execution of this new policy has been facilitated by Gweru City Park, a private entity previously contracted for daytime parking management. However, with the council’s workers now extending their jurisdiction into the night, the line between day and night enforcement has blurred, leading to increased tensions between motorists and the local authority.

“The fine is strictly in USD,” Clr Chivoko added, a detail that underscores the financial motivations behind the controversial clamping regime. As the council moves forward with this policy, the debate over its legality, ethics, and impact on the community continues to intensify.