File photo by Henk Kruger.

Pretoria - A new parking meter system that will do away with informal car guards is set to be implemented by the Tshwane Metro Council.

The municipality is expected to appoint a service provider to manage the system and appoint parking marshals to operate hand-held parking meters.

The handheld parking meter system and draft by-law are only applicable to parking bays on public roads; they do not apply to private parking areas.

The system will be used in congested parking areas such as Hatfield, Sunnyside and the inner city where there is a need for on-street parking turnover.

The service provider will be required to appoint some of the current informal guards (lapswaaiers) on condition they do not have criminal records.

Plans for the introduction of the new parking meter system were unveiled last year when Tshwane Metro Police chief Steven Ngobeni submitted a report to the council calling for the implementation of a new system.

Ngobeni stated that the current system had a number of drawbacks and did not address challenges associated with the proliferation of informal car guards.

Among complaints from businesses in the CBD were that these guards directed motorists to park in truck and bus loading zones, and harassed visitors to the CBD.

Ngobeni stated in the report that key elements assessed over the past few years, were the costs of the various systems, the risk of vandalism and whether the system addressed informal car guards.

Since the merger with former Metsweding, Nokeng tsa Taemane and Kungwini municipalities (Region 5 and 7), there had been a need to revise the Tshwane meter by-law, “so that the same law can apply to the entire municipality”, he said.

The draft by-law addresses the use of parking marshals, payment methods and the display of parking coupons, and various prohibited actions and penalties.

It makes provision for fines not exceeding R20 000 or 90 days’ imprisonment, or both, for anyone who fails to comply with any condition imposed in terms of the by-laws or who knowingly makes a false statement in respect of any application in terms of the by-laws.

Members of the public have until February 15 to submit comments or inputs to the draft amended parking meter by-Law.

Based on these comments and inputs, the metro police will amend the draft by-law, obtain legal inputs and finalise the by-law for submission to the council for approval, probably in May.

After the council’s approval, the by-law will be published in the Government Gazette and admission of guilt fines will be drafted and submitted for approval to the relevant magistrates.

The by-law will be enforced in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act (section 56 and 341 notices).

Pretoria News