Harare readies for streets takeover

HARARE - South African firm Easihold is set to kiss the streets of Harare goodbye following the setting up of City Parking, a subsidiary of Harare City Council.

Council business committee minutes approved last week show the local authority has received a major boost from banks, enabling it to take over the lucrative parking business that has been in the hands of the South African firm under a contested joint venture with council.

“The city has received a loan from the bank and suppliers of the parking equipment have been paid for the supply and delivery of the equipment,” read council minutes.

In 2009, council partnered Easihold to form Easipark but the joint venture has since been terminated with both parties disagreeing on the shareholding structure.

The matter was referred to an arbitrator who is expected to make his determination anytime soon. But council is already making plans to go solo.

According to business committee chairperson Thomas Muzuva, ZB Bank has extended a $700 000 loan facility for the setting up of the business and the money will be repaid within six months.

“The parking loan will be paid from proceeds made from the parking business. We are very confident this business can repay itself. We are sure we are not going to regret like what happened with Easipark,” said Muzuva.

Minutes from the last council meeting reveal that recruitment of parking marshals is underway and the company is expected to hit the streets soon.

Council says some of the workers from Easipark are likely to be employed by the new company.

Since the formation of Easipark four years ago, council has only realised $775 555 in dividends, a pittance far less than what Harare used to get when it managed the parking bays without the involvement of Easihold.

Misheck Mubvumbi, the city treasurer, said council used to get close to a million dollars on a monthly basis but of late it has received nothing. - Xolisani Ncube

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