Car Parking Craziness in Cape Town

2010 > South Africa

Pay the parking warden!
Airport clamp zone parking
South Africa is an amazingly car-centric country, partly due to geography, with large distances between lightly populated areas, and partly as a legacy of apartheid, with physical distance as a means of enforcing segregation.

Car ownership is also highly concentrated, its mainly rich whites that drive, with Africans in share taxis or walking. Which is why the car parking craziness of South Africa took me by such surprise.

In Cape Town, there were warnings about parking prohibitions on every block, with may signs threatening wheel clamping, or “booting” as we’d say in the States. It seems you don’t get a parking ticket; you get a giant steel clamp on your car wheel. In wheel clamping zones, its up to RS300 to be freed from their grasp.

Oh and don’t think its hard to find a boot for your car – at the airport there is a clamp just waiting for ya.

Now, I would expect that a country with giant Bridgestone tire stores and $2 daily parking, there would be greater respect for motorists. Drivers would not be subject to clamp welding parking marshals on every street. That parking privileges would be just another expected right after the car and driving itself.

But who knows. Cape Town also bans the letter “s” in public too.