Joburg didn't consult on Parkhurst parking - DA

Cllr Amanda Forsythe says City failed to inform her of the scheme

City of Johannesburg's Paid Parking System  

In a media briefing at City Council yesterday, representatives from the City of Johannesburg had the audacity to inform the press that public consultation had in fact taken place with regards to the paid parking scheme being rolled out by the JMPD and private company, Ace Parking.

This is simply untrue. If it weren't for my colleague in Parkhurst, Councillor Tim Truluck, I wouldn't have known about JMPD's intentions to commence with paid parking in Melville from the 1st of June and to then roll it out in two further suburbs in my Ward: Greenside and Parkview.

The City Officials glibly stated that it was the Ward Councillors' duty to take information they receive from the City and pass it on to residents, suggesting that it is we who have not done our jobs!

Had I received any information or notification on the paid parking scheme, I would have informed the residents and especially businesses in my ward immediately because I know that they would have a lot to say about the system and how it should be implemented.

I am not opposed to paid parking per se. In fact, in some of our nodes it could help us to combat congestion and the illegal parking that has become endemic. Normally law-abiding citizens flout the law daily because there is no visibility or law enforcement by the JMPD, so much so that drivers have come to believe that it is legal to park on pavements and in loading zones or disabled parking. If the JMPD were doing their job in the first place, there wouldn't be such problems of congestion and illegal parking.

I am opposed to the JMPD palming off its responsibilities to a private company who has no power to enforce the law and who is taking a 75% cut of the earnings, leaving the JMPD with a mere 25% and the citizens of Johannesburg with nothing. I think it's a cheek to charge the public to park on potholed roads riddled with broken pavements and drain covers, but the worst offense of all is not consulting the residents and businesses who will be directly affected by the scheme.

The least the City could have done would have been to contact the Ward Councillor and request input on how the scheme could be rolled out effectively in the suburb for the benefit of all concerned, but this was never done. Just as we saw in the e-tolling debacle, the ANC is clearly not interested in public opinion and intends to force another poorly planned and executed scheme down our throats.

I am calling an urgent public meeting in Melville on the 14th of May [1] to inform residents and businesses of the scheme and to ask them what action they, as a suburb, would like to take. Melville has been through a tough few years with urban decay and lawlessness being allowed to take root in the once peaceful, thriving village due to a lack of service delivery by the City. But thanks to the efforts of the Melville Residents Association, the local Sector Crime Forum members and other concerned individuals, a turnaround has been achieved and now new, up-market businesses are moving into the suburb and we are preparing for exciting events like art exhibitions this weekend, an international, cultural music festival in June, a poetry festival in October and a new Saturday market at the Recreation Centre every week. Things are finally looking up and the paid parking system could potentially destroy all our hard work if implemented as intended without consultation.

I will also be requesting copies of the results of the so-called ‘surveys' the City conducted in order to determine the suburbs in which the scheme would be rolled out. It strikes me as odd that the ‘high traffic zones' and ‘problematic parking areas' that were mentioned by Chris Nkobo as having been identified by these surveys for paid parking all happen to fall in DA wards.

[1] The Public meeting in Melville will be taking place at 6pm at the Junction Church, corner 7th avenue and 5th Street.

Statement issued by Cllr Amanda Forsythe, DA Ward Councillor, City of Johannesburg, Ward 87, May 10 2012

Click here to sign up to receive our free daily headline email newsletter