AS police continue their blitzkrieg against unlicensed and unregistered motor vehicles, that Harare City Council has hiked tow away and storage fees by 500%.
Motorists are to pay $9 898 from $2 451 or an equivalent of US$100 at the official exchange rate to have an impounded car released and $4 949 (US$50) from $980 (US$10) for storage per day.
The new fees are contained in a circular released by the council’s corporate and communications department.
Towing a 15-seater commuter omnibus will cost$11 878 (US$120), up from $3 268 (US$50), and an 18-seater $13 857 (US$140) up from $4 085 (US$50).
Fees outside the city centre will attract an additional charge of $990 equivalent to US$10 at official exchange rate per kilometre.
Conventional buses, lorries and articulated heavy lorries will pay a private contractor charge plus 50 percent penalty, storage and VAT.
On storage charges, commuter omnibuses will now pay $5 939 (US$50) from $1 470 (US$15), conventional buses and lorries will now have to fork out $6 929 (70), up from $2 450 (US$25), and articulated heavy lorries $8 908 (US$90) up from $2 940 (US$30).
Acting city spokesperson Innocent Ruwende said their budget was approved by Government last week.
“The fees are meant to deter people from committing parking offences, rather than generate revenue. The charges in Zimbabwe dollars are payable at the equivalent official exchange rate.
“Clamping and tow away charges are meant to be punitive and deter people from committing traffic related offences,” he said.
Meanwhile, police said they don’t charge storage fees on all unregistered cars that are being impounded during this ongoing operation and taken to any police station countrywide.
This comes after there has been an outcry by some motorists that they were being forced to pay storage fees by some officers after they want to collect their vehicles.
Unregistered vehicles and those without number plates are being used as getaway cars in the commission of dangerous crimes, including armed robberies, murder, rape and kidnapping. The current operation is targeting unlicensed, uninsured, unregistered motor vehicles and non-complying public service vehicles.
In an interview yesterday, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said no storage fees should be paid at any police institutions and warned those demanding such fees that they will be dealt with.
“Most of the vehicles being impounded are being taken to the Harare Central Stores (owned by City of Harare) who have their own arrangements and those taken to any police station, there are no storage fees charged.
“We will not hesitate to arrest anyone involved in any corrupt tendencies,” he said. Asst Comm Nyathi said they had also noted that some motorists were now using fake temporary vehicle number plates to avoid being arrested during the ongoing blitz. He said the public should also be aware that in terms of the Vehicle Registration and Licencing Act, they should change ownership of their vehicles within 14 days of purchasing.
He said changing of ownership will also make it easy for police to trace them, in the event of an accident or commissioning of a crime.
“We want to urge motorists that the government has made it clear that there are enough number plates and those without number plates should be parked.