Branded kombis to pay council

HARARE - Harare City Council (HCC) is considering making public transport operators — mainly kombis — pay for the adverts emblazoned on their vehicles.

According to a tweet by the local authority, all branded kombis will pay for advertising space on their private vehicles to council.

“It is an idea that was brought up during a meeting. However, we are still trying to perfect it. We are trying to follow global advertising trends because after all it is advertising space that is in the city,” HCC spokesperson Michael Chideme said.

However, residents are against the move, arguing that the vehicles are not council property.

This comes as HCC is desperately looking for avenues to increase revenue collection as it is owed in excess of $700 million by ratepayers.

The idea to charge advertising space on kombis comes as Harare drafted a by-law that requires all telecommunications companies, including those laying underground fibre optic cables, to pay monthly rentals to the city.

The by-law also empowers the local authority to charge commercial rates for properties with base stations.

“The telecommunications companies have not been paying anything to council as was agreed upon so the city resolved instead to charge the home owners who are being paid on behalf of HCC.

“The homes will be charged rates that are equivalent to businesses,” Chideme said.

According to some sections of the by-law, companies installing electronic communication facilities and trenching underground fibre optic cables have to obtain a permit from council first before conducting their activities.

“In terms of section 5, the company applying for the permit would pay an application fee to council and must have complied with the requirements of Potraz,” read part of the by-law.

Section 8 of the proposed new law entails that council’s permit would not exceed the period of the electronic telecommunication operator’s licence as required by the statutory regulations.

“In terms of section 9, the permit holder would maintain the area where its services were installed and would indemnify council against any claims that may arise out of the location of the electronic communications facilities”.

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