By Beverly Bizeki
Masvingo City Council towing services vehicle headache seems to be ongoing after council raised concern that the city was losing revenue by outsourcing the said services.
This was noted in council’s Health, Housing and Environmental Services Committee minutes dated January 10, 2024 whereby it was noted council was losing revenue as they were charging minimal fees on offenders while local towing service provider Thunder Run was charging exorbitant fees.
“On towing fee, the committee raised concern that council was losing revenue by outsourcing towing services. The committee also raised the issue that Thunder Run was benefitting more from towing services by charging exorbitant fees while council was charging minimal fees on offenders,” read part of the minutes.
Council resolved to recommend that the Town Clerk Engineer Edward Mukaratirwa explores reviewing the service agreement between the city and Thunder Run over the towing services provided by the latter.
“The Town Clerk should be tasked to explore reviewing the service agreement between Thunder Run and the City of Masvingo in respect of provision of vehicle towing away services,” read the minutes.
In November 2023 and at full council meeting held at the Town House councilors clashed over whether council should buy a towing vehicle or not.
Ward 9 councilor Benard Muchokwa was quoted saying council must purchase a tow vehicle to avoid outsourcing as motorists have a tendency of leaving their vehicles parked for too long and argued council had the money raised from the same department.
“We need to purchase a towing truck of our own so that we stop using council resources to outsource the service. The money is there that was raised from the same department for that purpose so we are not taking from council coffers,” said Muchokwa.
Proportional Representative Councilor Sharon Marombedze however said council did not need to buy the vehicle as it can go for months without towing any vehicle.
“Can you justify why we need that vehicle because I haven’t seen anytime where one fails to get parking in town because parking bays are full or vehicles that have been abandoned and need to be towed away.
“Can we have statistics of how often we outsource for that service, we cannot abuse money simply because neighbors are doing so. Saying Harare and Bulawayo have many doesn’t justify our needs as Masvingo,” said Marombedze.
Councillor Sengerayi Manyanga chipped in saying the business community was supposed to benefit also from council since they pay rates.
During the period under review, council raised US$7 940 from the 508 traffic offences recorded. Of the same, 335 arrests were made concerning continuous parking after expiry of disc and US$3 350 was raised from these arrests.