MASERU — Motorists say that the Maseru City Council (MCC)’s decision to introduce charges on city parking lots was uncalled for.
Steve Mosiuoa, a motorist who spoke to the Lesotho Times, said it feels like the MCC was stealing from them for charging parking fees at spots that have been free for a long time.
“It seems now that we are charged for everything. We understand that there are parking lots where people can be charged like those that are enclosed. Now to pay for parking space along the streets feels a bit too much,” Mosiuoa said.
Charges start from M1.50 when a motorist parks for 0 to 15 minutes, then up to M3.50 for parking from 15 to 30 minutes and M7 for an hour.
He said the council should have considered that motorists were already burdened by high fuel prices.
“We are already paying a lot for fuel and service to ensure that our vehicles are roadworthy. We pay taxes all the time. They have no reason to want to collect revenue from us,” he added.
The Maseru City Council (MCC) public relations officer, Lintle Moerane, said the municipality introduced the charges to bring about order within the city.
Moerane said people were keeping the parking spaces all to themselves for long hours without thinking about other motorists who might need to use the space.
“There is a tendency for people to park their vehicles for hours, not giving others a chance to use the facility while they go about their businesses,” Moerane said.
She added that the new arrangement seeks to curb crime whereby vehicles would be left in the parking lots for weeks and their owners would not be known.
The MCC is in the process of rolling out a project to introduce charges for parking lots that were free in the past.
The MCC said the project, which was piloted on parking spaces along the Kingsway, is now being carried out on some of the places around the bus stop area.
“The charges were introduced about six months ago along the Kingsway parking spaces which were free of charge. A contractor was hired to do the work. But lately the MCC has introduced charges on other lots around the bus stop area,” Moerane said.
She said the fees would help the council to generate some revenue that will be used to upgrade the city.