You Will Be Forking Out R400 A Day For Parking

We thought we'd dodged a bullet, but no, Cape Town's terrible R400 a day parking plan is still very much alive, and hungry, and headed your way.
Jason Snyman
2018-08-17

CompareGuru recently reported on Cape Town’s terrible parking plan, and the subsequent withdrawal of said terrible parking plan due to public outcry and disgust.

Now, thanks to DA Mayoral committee member for Urban Development and Transport, Brett Herron, the controversial plan is all set to go ahead again.

If approved by the Council before year-end, the plan will see CBD kerbside parking fees increase from R130 a day to R400 per day.
 

What Is This New Parking Plan?

The terrible parking plan runs thus: The city of Cape Town wants to adopt a proposed parking management system which will raise the rates for those who park for longer hours.

Supposedly, those parking for less than two hours would still be paying the same rates. Those parking for over two hours, though, would pay far, far more. 

The motive behind this plan, they say, is to ease congestion. Heavy congestion reportedly costs Cape Town around R2.8 billion per year in economic performance losses. 

The desired outcome is to dissuade motorists from using their cars and instead, encourage them to use public transport. Another motive is to reduce the time motorists spend circling the block in search of parking, because theoretically, the more expensive the parking is the less people will want to use it and the greater the availability will be. 

This is an understandable motive, given that Cape Town is currently the most hopelessly congested city in South Africa. Something needs to be done.
 

But, what makes the new parking plan so terrible in the eyes of the average Capetonian is that, as it currently stands, an eight-hour park would cost R130 – with the risk of a hefty fine for exceeding the two-hour parking time limit. Under the new plan, you won’t be fined for exceeding that two-hour limit, but you will be charged well over R400 for an eight-hour park.

So, those forced to park kerbside in order to get to work for the day would be hit the hardest. It’s simply unaffordable.
 

Instant Backlash

Upon hearing of the initial proposal, consumer groups and opposition parties were quick to voice their opinions about the plan. 

OUTA's spokesperson on local government, Michael Holenstein, said:  

“It is unaffordable given all the other increases that have shaken consumers' wallets. To reduce congestion we need to fix public transport. We can't increase prices. But because the public transport is already bad, we see people taking their cars.”

Janine Myburgh, President of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the city of Cape Town has executive directors who earn millions every year. She added:
 

We have a right to expect better solutions to problems, and not just knee-jerk tariff increases.

And then, the ANC’s spokesperson on finance, Carol Beerwinkel, said: 

I don’t see how the city can expect this plan to work if there is an ailing public transport system. There is taxi violence, bus services are also limited and volatile, while the rail system is struggling to keep up with the demands. Even if public transport is fixed, this plan would be unaffordable.

And it wasn’t long after that the Mother City reportedly withdrew the plan entirely. 

There Was No Withdrawal At All

At the time of “withdrawal”, Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson stated:
 

We need more time to look at this plan. This has not had the agenda discussions, we need a thorough discussion and presentation on this before it goes further. We simply have to discuss the more.

Deputy DA caucus leader, JP Smith, said that the plan had already been discussed within the DA caucus. Area-based Mayoral Committee members are reportedly dealing with the policy document and will make submissions on their on-street needs.

“There were concerns around the tariffs, but an explanation was given to that effect. We are also work-shopping the plan to ensure that one official can be used for enforcement on informal trading, traffic and parking enforcement,” said Smith.So, the plan was never really withdrawn, only delayed for further discussions, and public outrage will not deter the Mayoral Committee from moving forward. 

The Cape Town Parking Disaster

With Cape Town traffic such as it is, it’s understandable that the parking situation would be in shambles too. Part of the problem, in a round-about way, is that motorists will repeatedly circle block after block searching for free parking. Which is, let’s face it, a bit of a fool’s errand.

So, there’s almost no getting around having to pay up. Then, there are those who have just embraced it – and then some.

Earlier this year, it was reported that seven beautiful, secure, off-street parking bays in a Napier Street residential development were sold for R570 000 each.

Johan Malherbe, of the Tower Property Fund in Cape Town, said:
 

These parking bays were purchased by homeowners in the complex who needed extra parking. They sold for R500 000 without vat, and R570 000 vat inclusive. How we got to that amount was we established we could achieve a rental of around R2000 per month/ per bay, and capitalised that at 5%.

And these are not isolated cases. In recent years we’ve also seen Pam Golding Properties sell parking bays in Clifton from R580 000 to R750 000. There was even an 18sqm garage which sold for a cool R2 million.

Now, that may seem excessive – and it is, disgustingly so – but it’s also supply and demand. It’s just clever business, and more importantly, it’s indicative of how big the Cape Town problem is.
 

Rich people, wherever you are, stop funding artisan gourmet vinyl vape avocado hipster hangouts and start building parking multi-storey parking structures.

Thank me later. With a free parking spot.