With Harare City collecting ‘US$90m in 2 weeks’ from a clamping spree, avoid becoming a victim

Leonard Sengere Avatar
100 USD, US dollars

You may have seen the video by now. You know the one where City Parking officials (or hired workers in City Council work suits) get into a fight with people on the streets of Harare. It is a warzone on the streets and like the Shona say, ‘hazvipere mushe’ (It won’t end well).

Harare City Council, like most institutions in Zimbabwe, believes that its job is to catch citizens breaking the law or by-laws. Those offences carry with them fines and this is what they are really about – collecting fines.

We have seen this with the police, especially traffic cops. They don’t really care how unroadworthy a vehicle is as long as the driver pays up and shuts up. It is ridiculous but ‘it is the way’ in these parts.

Harare City Council is on a quest to fundraise and has turned the heat up on Harare motorists. They are not messing about and have been clamping cars left, right and centre.

Any infraction and a motorist will have to pay up. Even when a motorist failed to locate the parking attendant and so left a car parked but without paying for the parking.

Nigel Chanakira, the Kingdom Bank founder, found out the hard way when he zipped up to attend a meeting without paying for parking first. He says he failed to see the parking attendant and I guess he probably figured, ‘we’ll work it out when I get back.’

He came back to a clamped car and found out that working it out would involve US$132 leaving his pocket and going straight into the City’s piggy bank. Fun stuff.

The City Council says it “recently enlisted the services of City Parking to help us enforce the City’s by-laws….So far they have remitted US$90 million in a matter of just a short time, just two weeks and US$60,000 in hard currency.”

Update: As many have pointed out, the City Council official likely meant ZW$90 million, not US$90 million. The math doesn’t add up for it to be US$90 million in just 2 weeks. They can’t possibly have clamped 682,000 cars and collected $132 from each in just two weeks.

That would mean they collected US$90,000 + US$60,000 = US$150,000 in 2 weeks. It’s still a lot. That’s an average of 81 cars paying the $132 a day.

It’s not a secret with the City, this whole exercise, being unreasonable and everything, is about fundraising. They claim that they are raising these funds so that they can improve service delivery. So, essentially, taxing by-law breakers to serve the greater public.

You will have to decide if you believe them. Whatever the case, time shall tell. However, you don’t have to be a victim, you can make sure you don’t fall afoul of the soldiers in orange and blue work suits.

How to not fall victim

Follow the rules of the road.

It sounds like an insult but let’s be frank, Hararians do not care about the rules of the road. I have seen people just stop in the middle of the road to have conversations, people are dropped off at traffic lights and many other infractions have gone unpunished for years.

That’s not going to fly at the moment, so just follow the rules and you won’t have to pay the crazy US$132.

Now, when it comes to parking. You have to find the parking attendant as soon as you exit your car. You may be in a rush and it can be annoying trying to find an attendant on the crowded streets but you better do that if you would prefer your USD stay in your pocket.

It’s better to over-estimate how much time you’re gonna need and pay for that than to save a buck, have your meeting drag on and come back to a clamped car.

Or you could remember that you have a smartphone in your pocket, or even a feature phone and just pay for parking using EcoCash. You don’t even need data or airtime to do this. You just dial *192# to register and pay for parking using EcoCash.

I understand that many of us these days hardly ever have money in our EcoCash wallets, instead, we move around with USD cash. It can be annoying to have to locate an EcoCash agent and load the account before venturing into town. However, you might want to do that.

If you pay for parking this way, you will have a record of when you paid and will be able to get out of any clamping shenanigans without dropping a cool $132.

You could also download the City Parking app. About the app they say it,

provides users(motorists) a convenient means of paying for their parking in cities. The App allows a motorist to provide duration for parking and pay for just the time selected. The app maintains virtual tickets that can be verified by law enforcement agents electronically. It is possible for one to top up if the ticket expires from wherever.

Be warned though, the app has a rating of 2.4/5 on the Play Store, with plenty of 1-star reviews. iOS users, you’re out of luck on this one, stick to the EcoCash option. One Android app reviewer painted this picture.

I was clamped when i had paid using the app. I am not happy at all. It seems the app is not synchronized with the platform used by city parking marshalls who are in the streets. I had to go to the city parking offices to get the clamping ticket cleared and this took almost 2 hours. Such an inconvenience.

This user ended up not having to pay the fine but they lost 2 hours of their life. That’s no good, so keep it in mind. Tech could betray you.

Also read:

City Parking To Introducing Pre-Paid Parking Cards To Help Drivers Save Time

Harare City Council Says They Will Complete Installation Of Traffic Cameras In The CBD By 2019


What’s your take?

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  1. D.K.

    Tech seems to have betrayed us in this article. The phenomenal US$90million seems to be converting to US60000 in hard currency! Techzim Rrrrrrrate?

    1. Leonard Sengere

      No, 😂, there’s no Techzim rate. I think they mean they have collected ZW$ worth US$90 million and US$60,000 in hard USD cash.

      1. D.K.

        Understood. Thanks!

  2. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

    We shouldn’t call violators “victims”, just avoid violating. Driving in the CBD is a nightmare because people stop anywhere and think “hazards” give them some sort of immunity.

    Yes, I acknowledge that their police are just concerned with money collection, but you can’t collect money from someone who hasn’t violated anything. What is terribly difficult about just parking within the lines? It’s annoying to have to park far from where you want to do business because someonr is literally using 2 parking spots.

    I’m also yet to meet someone who says they did not know there’s paid parking in town. You are more likely to hear a person not knowing there are areas with free parking.

    Anyway, fines are never meant to be affordable. Oddly, when in other countries, we follow traffic laws to the tee.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Yep, I was being hyperbolic calling law breakers victims. These fines can and should be avoided by simply acting like a decent human being and following the reasonable rules of the road.
      I hope this exercise will entrench it in people’s minds that rules are meant to be followed even after the inevitable downward revision of those fines. Harare should not be a nightmare to drive in.

  3. Ruf

    Thanks for 192#
    So of these attendants make you wait forever

    1. Leonard Sengere

      I don’t think they were really keen on properly publicising the USSD option.

      1. D.K.

        They are owners of the CBD and they can put billboards on all roads leading to the CBD, or write this anywhere, on the pavement, the walls, even on the tarmac, and noone will make them pay a subscription, bribe or fine.

        1. Leonard Sengere

          Yep, if they really wanted the word out, they would have gotten the word out.

          1. Anonymous

            Love you too

            1. Leonard Sengere

              😂 Were we trying to multitask, comment whilst texting that special someone and ended up sending the wrong messages? Even if that’s the case, love you too 🤣

  4. Rodrick

    $130 is expensive period, They scored an own goal with Elections coming up, this move will bite them in the asi

    1. The Empress

      Tsk nonsense…
      It’s comments like this that make me believe that before someone is allowed to vote they should be made to take an IQ test! Because the right to vote is clearly wasted on some people.
      It would be one thing if we were talking about city council raids on street vendors at least those are people trying to make a honest living, even though they do it by breaking some city bylaws. Because those people literally don’t have a choice it’s either do or die of starvation. These people might be forgiven for wasting their vote because of a grudge, after all this grudge is based on whether or not they have a way to make living.
      But to waste a vote on a grudge about a parking ticket? That’s a level of stupidly on a different level altogether!


      1. The Empress

        The bylaws are simple and straightforward and the cost of following the law both in terms of money or time is relatively low.
        And only those that break the law are heavily punished. This encourages good behaviour from the driving citizens of the city. What’s not to like this whole situation?

        1. Leonard Sengere

          It is as if parking between the lines and paying for that privilidge is rocket science in Harare. It really isn’t hard to not have to pay the $132.

      2. The Empress

        The costs of parking fees both in terms of money and time are relatively low,and only those who break the law are heavily punished.
        So the law encourages good behaviour from the driving citizens of the city and incidentally raises revenue for the city council which might curb their tendency of raising rates every so often.
        Seems like a win win situation. What’s not to like?

      3. Leonard Sengere

        I’m with you on vendors. I know they are breaking some by-laws but I still think they should be left to work. To equate reckless driving and parking to that is a bit much.
        Let the parking tickets clean the city up.

        I would add that in terms of it being ‘an own goal’ on the political front. The Mayor is a CCC guy and his deputy is an MDC-A member. So if the heavy parking fines would have an impact on elections, it would not be on own goal on the part of the City Council.
        Should we be looking at parking fines this way though? Nope.

  5. Mukanya

    I’m still for the HCC water meter reader to call at my place…..

    1. D.K.

      Have you tried reading your meter on your own and giving these to the city council before estimate readings eat deeper into your pockets?

      1. Leonard Sengere

        They accept that huh? The more you know…

  6. Rodrick

    Everyone has a right to vote based on how the person in charge is treating me, Should we accept being abused because it’s the CCC guys? No, and I don’t think you have a car iwewe @ Empress

    1. The Empress

      I don’t live in Harare so I have not seen how the city council guys behave on .
      the ground. Maybe they hide from customers and pounce clamping the car once the customer surrenders nd leaves the car… I don’t know. But what I do know is how drivers in bulawayo behave like. And in short we can be idiots.
      I wonder if you are one of those people who think that just because they have a car they all of sudden became God’s gift to the city with controlling shares in that city allowing them to do whatever, whenever. Parking their car taking up 2 spots, running a shop from the boot of their car etc, etc?
      But if following a simple and straightforward law that treats everyone exactly the same but doesn’t disadvantage you too much in time or money whilst requiring a little basic human decency constitutes ABUSE to you?
      Then I’m really sure IQ tests should definitely be a must before voting because to be frankly honest. You seem to be sadly lacking. And you have no idea what you are talking about when scream abuse.
      Yes that’s pity in the eyes of the village idiot even he feels sorry for you.
      Tell me something where did you buy your drivers license Pick nd Pay or OK Mart?

      1. Rodrick

        l’m a Engineer my friend if My IQ was lacking they would have fired me a long time ago. But on a serious note you hv got to move out off your parents house at some point.

        1. The Empress

          And there you go again proving your lack of IQ!
          So you are an engineer? And that proves what exactly? Need I remind you that ZESA, NRZ, PTC and even the road department has engineers?
          And nobody in the country is impressed by their performance so far. All we can say is that they have good memory skills and were able to use those skills to pass exams. But at the end of the day, they are almost useless when asked for original thinking. Except maybe for thinking up new allowances they can claim.
          I can see that thinking is hard for you but can’t you think up anything better than these childish insults?
          Boasting about your job, saying people still live with their parents (I’m Zimbabwean living in Zimbabwe that type of nonsense insult only works on americans)
          Oh by the way when you vote put X against the names of all the people who you don’t support and tick the one you support to ensure that your vote definitely gets counted!

    2. Leonard Sengere

      I’ll let you 2 kids duke it out.

      I’ll only say, I understand your point @Rodrick. We should factor in the kind of service delivery we get when we are deciding on who to vote for. If the City Council extorts us, collecting millions only to give themselves bonuses come Christmas time then we should at least consider all this before voting.

      On the other hand, it really is like complaining that supermarket workers are dousing caught thieves with cooking oil and flour. It’s like, it should be easy to not fall afoul of the punishment. In fact, if everyone put effort into not getting fined, we would have a better Harare.

      I do agree though that sometimes it does feel like these parking marshalls run their own little errands during business hours and cannot be located sometimes. Only for them to fine you later. It is a problem. The City does not seem to care about that, just as long as they collect their millions.

      About the $132 fine being excessive, bdeex says the average salary in the country is around $230. So yeah, the fine is excessive. But I guess it is by design, it is meant to ensure compliance, they don’t really expect us to drive like animals and rake up these fines.

    3. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

      How are you being abused? You want committing offences to be affordable, what kind of thinking is that? These are not mistakes people are making, these are conscious decisions. A person tries to dodge a $1 parking fee, only to cry foul when they are caught. Anyway, only rapists complain when rape sentences get harsher, those who don’t rape have no worries.

      1. Sam

        At the end of the day no service delivery vurai meso varume, that video of the people fighting with city council thugs explains a lot.

        1. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

          Then focus on getting service delivery. You can’t say since there’s no service delivery, then let us break all laws. So which laws are ok to break since there’s no service delivery, traffic, theft, rape, murder?

          If people say let’s protest for service delivery, you don’t go hanzi it’s illegal. But you willingly break any other law. 🤦🏾‍♂️

      2. Quiton

        The people are being abused there have been skirmishes between citizens and marshals. This is not the way to treat people.

        1. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

          Skirmish is because they don’t want to pay. Do that in any country and there will be a skirmish.

      3. The Empress

        People in Zimbabwe are now so used to not paying the consequences for their own actions that when they are made to follow the law they think they are being abused 😂😂

  7. MamboLoti

    I bet its rtgs 90 mil and 60k mari kwayo

    1. Leonard Sengere

      You’re probably right there.

  8. joboniya

    This has nothing to do with getting the city back into order its just a zhet to line pockets dzerimwe team kuitisana mari chete

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Unfortunately, we likely won’t benefit from this latest fundraising. Except maybe for a decongested city centre.

  9. joboniya

    This has nothing to do with getting the city back into order its just a zhet to line pockets dzerimwe team kuitisana mari chete

  10. Tino

    TT you have a good day

  11. Terrace

    I’m still trying to figure out how the 90 million USD was arrived at
    It means around 600000 vehicles were clamped at 132 each. That’s quite a load 🤨

    1. Richard Turpin

      Some of that might consist of late payments, etc? That lot will also double, treble etc penalties for late payment. Those sods are desperate for cash, to line their pockets, and have done sod-all to improve any services, the roads etc. All they care about is that damn mansion, its furnishings, and lining their own pockets. They never have, or will, do ANYTHING worthwhile for the city as a whole, and other cities and towns are following suit. They’re just imitation zpf in that respect, and most of them are no doubt card-carrying members of same.

  12. Hugh Jarse

    City Parking and Harare City Council have become nothing more than another theft division of zpf! They still want to build that sodding mansion, shove perks into councillors’ pockets, and, as the general state of the city proves, have and will do sod-all with that money, to improve Harare and its environs! It’s just another thieving lot, like zpf, but then you lot have been stupid enough to allow all of this, since the 1980’s, can’t be bothered to do anything to hold them accountable for the mess Harare is in, and, as with central government, will do nothing to put together an alternative, credible HCC! What you residents and citizens have been stupid enough to vote for, or alternatively haven’t said or done anything to stop the rot, is nobody’s fault but yours! You’ve allowed their greed and incompetence to flourish… What are you going to do to stop it?

  13. Papi Greko

    So u do live with your parents @ the Empress 😂😂

    1. The Empress

      So after reading the article and comments section and all the good/bad points that were raised from sharing their opinions …. All you remembered and thought of was a childish joke?
      It’s true what they say “Ignorance is bliss”

  14. Jack

    We are back in the good old days when going Chitown you would find 5 road blocks. Fund raising on the road is an easy cash cow.