The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Easihold, Harare City Head for Showdown

EasiHold and Harare City are headed for a showdown as it emerged the city was blocking the street parking company's move to expand its business in some sections of the city. Ironically, EasiHold and Harare City jointly own EasiPark, but the city resolved recently to call off the deal.

The two parties have taken their dispute to cut ties to an arbitrator.

A ruling on the matter is now pending.

However, before the determination on the case is made, EasiHold chief executive Mr Mike Clark hinted they wanted to expand the business to cover areas covered by the joint venture agreement.

"EasiHold remains committed, willing to invest, and ready to implement parking management services and install parking control equipment in all the remaining parking facilities, in accordance with our EasiPark Harare joint venture," he said.

He said the area covered by the joint venture agreement was bounded by Samora Machel, Chinhoyi, and Charter and Fourth Streets.

But Harare business development manager Mr Alois Masepe denied council had stopped the expansion.

He alleged EasiHold failed to comply with the agreement.

"EasiHold was to install parking meters in its area in four months (October 2009 to January 2010).

"It failed to complete this in over three years," he said.

But Mr Clark said the city issued the stop order in November 2011.

"At a meeting held on November 2 2011, the city declared that any further implementation of the joint venture can only be done after the shareholders' agreement has been signed.

"The city has therefore prohibited/prevented EasiPark Harare from extending its operations and stopped EPH from implementing the parking management at the remaining parking facilities," he said.

He said Mbare Musika, which the city wants to control under its new parking company Harare Parking, was included in the joint venture agreement.

"Mbare is specifically included in the list of 'parking facilities' of the JVA and agreed to with the city way back in 2009/2010. As such, Mbare falls within EPH's sole mandate."

Mr Masepe said in Mbare and other bus terminuses' touts and rank marshals "had violently opposed the project".

He said both parties agreed to concentrate on the on-street parking.

He said while the city can subcontract other parties to do work on its behalf -- it will always intervene where necessary.

"EasiHold remains committed, willing to invest, and ready to implement parking management services and install parking control equipment at Mbare, in accordance with our EasiPark Harare joint venture," he said.

Under the agreement council was supposed to supply and construct civil works for the installation of the parking control equipment.

"To date, the city has done nothing. The same applies for the civil works for all the other bus/taxi termini.

"It is the city's prerogative, if they so choose, to now fulfil their responsibilities in terms of the JVA, and to now provide the civil works," he said.

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