Monday, December 07, 2009

Cape Town's Parking Marshalls.

In 2007, in a brilliant job-creating scheme by Cape Town city council, a lot of the coin-operated parking meters were replaced by KFC-operated ones.

One wonders if traffic cones are next in the Soviet-style job creation plan. Or, instead of car-park booms, five people could stand across the road barring your way until you insert your ticket.

This article is from 2007, but showed just how quickly the newly employed attendants illustrated the glaring flaw in the system.

The new parking system has been operational for months now and I’d like to warn other motorists to pay attention to what the parking marshals are doing. I am in Seapoint or the CBD at least 3 times per week and the trip includes several stops. I have only encountered one parking marshal that actually entered the the parking transaction correctly.

Motorists are easily manipulated to pay the parking fee whilst the entry is not even logged. Who knows what the parking attendants do with the money? One attendant admitted to helping himself to between R100 and R200 per day.

Parking marshals use a combination of body language, intimidation and motorists lack of knowledge of the system to get money from motorists.

In most cases they enter your car’s registration number on their little black box, then demand parking money up front. You may think that the transaction is now entered, but it is not activated and the marshal can simply clear it once you are out of sight.

I always insist punching in the activation keys myself (they don’t like this at all). Sometimes the parking time expires on my activated transaction, they then proudly show me the screen "parking expired" and demand more money. The truth is that they have to make a brand new entry for the expired time as the machine does not show a new amount to the marshal.

I once waited for a friend in the car and watched the marshals collecting money from motorists and then head straight for their favourite fast food outlet, retiring with expensive takeaways.

There is also a guy on a bicycle monitoring them, making stops and holding his hand out for money. I am not sure if they have to pay him a portion of the money they take, before helping themselves to some money for themselves.

I was wondering when the parking marshals will start striking so i asked one of them and the answer was to be expected: I will never strike in this job!

Please make sure your entry is activated so that the City of Cape Town can get the parking money.

They have to enter your car’s registration number and your parking time. You then have to press the green activation key and the "C" button on the next screen for Cash. Only then do they have to hand that money in after their shift. When your parking expires they need to start a new entry for the remainder of the time. Don’t be scared of their aggressive attitude. Your parking money is supposed to go to the City of Cape Town and not fast food outlets. Make sure your transaction is entered and activated correctly!

6 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

Contrast that with Canada. We can easily pay up to R100 per hour to park. We have no parking attendants. You are responsible to get your own ticket. Policing is done via a mobile vehicle, equipped with cameras, that film your plate and run it via a database. If you haven't paid you are automatically nabbed, and the fine is in the post.

Anonymous said...

I know Sea Point well and Cape Town in general and the 'Paking Mashels' were a completely new thing to me, compared with other parts of the country. They are on every street block in CT. I have on numerous occasions seen them pocket money from unsuspecting motorists. If a motorist pulls up to return a DVD at the video shop, a flat rate of R1 is charged. The rules are strict - pay for 1 hour at x amount, alternatively pay for half an hour at half of x amount. There is no such 'drop off' charge of R1 bullfaeces! It is all a rackett and I'm certain that KFC makes millions each year from all those little R1's!

There are many pointless positions available to the 'wekkers' and being a 'Paking Mashel' is one of them. Others are the 'pekkers' at the supermarket. In Europe and other places (not Africa) abroad, the Cashier bags the groceries once they have been scanned. At the garage there is a Philemon to 'pump your gas' - where in the States you do that yourself!

Years ago in Russia (I don't know how it is now?), in museums and art galleries they had women who would switch on the light when you entered a hall and turn it off again on your exit. When certain exhibits had been cordoned off and you pressed a little too close to the rope, a woman came up to you and shouted, "Nit, NIT!", (No, NO!)

Back to SA, if a motorist refuses to pay - if you are white your registration no. is promptly entered into the black box and a fine arrives 2 months or more later. If you are black the paking mashel is disappointed that they couldn't steal from one of their own.

Anonymous said...

More South Africa kaffir corruption!

Viking said...


Good to hear from you again, old son. You're completely right,I was amazing in SA to see employees doing things I used to do myself, like weigh my own veg. and bag my groceries. It takes some getting used to. A friend once told me the same about the old USSR in the 80s, where every restaurant had someone to hand you various things, and that's how they got 100% employment! I see SA going the same way ...

Anonymous said...

Viking: Thanks for the kind words (directed at me of course.) I prefered your old profile pic, but the new one is also cool!

I purposely stand in a queue where there are no pekkers to paw at my groceries. You would think centre management would train them in the 'art of bag packing', but alas they don't. They have the propensity to put a huge butternut on top of your eggs or a 1kg box of washing powder on top of your bag of chips. Alternatively they try and squeeze 15 items into a bag designed for three!

When a pekker does appear, I bag the groceries myself - with such speed and precision that the pekker displays that typical 'deer in the head lights look.'

Anonymous said...

They can keep the pekking mashels and the beg pekkas but what really gets my dander up is carguards at shopping malls.

You've already taken your trolley from Pick 'n Pay to the exit, so why the hell do you need a carguard/parking mall attendant to "help" you unload your shopping into the boot of the car or, even more irritating, give you parking and get-out-of-mall lessons?

The surly white guys irritate me the worst with their menacing 'why won't you help one of your own kind' attitude with the implied threat of 'liberal white bitch'. They only brighten up when they see that I don't use the services of the black carguards either, then they smile smugly.

It's a confrontation every time I want to buy two bags of groceries.