The City of Harare will ban pick-up trucks, sport utility vehicles and haulage trucks from using roads in the central business district if a proposed amendment of the city's by-laws is approved. In a notice placed by the chamber secretary's office recently, council proposed an amendment of the Harare (Traffic) by-law 357 of 1983 which indicates the conduct expected of motorists in the city centre and other surrounding areas.
"The Harare City Council (hereinafter referred to as Council) has proposed to amend the Harare (Traffic) by-law 357 of 1983 and approve the proposed Harare (Traffic) (Amendment Number by-laws 2013," reads part of the notice.
The deadline for objections against the amendments is April 9.
Greater Harare Association of Commuter Operators (GHACCO) secretary general Mr Ngoni Katsvairo castigated council saying the move was unlawful.
"Their understanding of a heavy vehicle is to be any vehicle with a gross mass of 2 300kg which is wrong and contrary to the Road Traffic Act.
"The law defines it as any vehicle with a net mass of 2 300kg meaning almost all pick-ups, double cabs and SUVs will be barred from entering the CBD and worse still from entering their own residential areas on the basis of a wrong interpretation. The Road Traffic Act, Chapter 13:11 indicates a "heavy vehicle" as "a motor vehicle exceeding two thousand three hundred kilogrammes but does not include a passenger motor vehicle having a seating capacity of not more than seven passengers."
"Council should concentrate on service provision like additional ranks for kombis, parking space and alternative parking areas to accommodate the city's ballooning vehicle population. It is another mechanism they are contemplating siphoning hard-earned cash from motorists," he said.
Mr Katsvairo said residents owning vehicles with a gross mass of 2 300kg must submit their objections to council before April 9.
GHACCO vice chairman Mr Dominic Chingombe said the city's definition of a heavy vehicle speaks of a gross mass which includes vehicles.
"If the city by-law is amended, it will be at variance with the RTA and this needs to be corrected before approval and implementation. It will affect almost all pick-ups, double cabs and SUVs," he said.
Efforts to get comment from the city's corporate communications manager Mr Leslie Gwindi were fruitless yesterday as he was said to be in a meeting.