Telkom maintenance at risk in fleet dispute
Telkom is at the mercy of the North Gauteng High Court, which will decide on Friday whether the state-controlled company must hand back 6000 vans it has been leasing from Daimler Fleet Management for its field technicians. Since 2000, Daimler has managed Telkom's fleet as part of a contract that was rolled over several times.But this ended last month when the fleet division of Bidvest scooped up the contract.Now Daimler has asked the court urgently to order Telkom to hand back its vehicles.This seems to be a consequence of Telkom's turnaround plan under which it scrutinised all contracts.The telecoms group asked Daimler to submit a fresh proposal, which evidently was not compelling enough. So last November it appointed Bidvest to take over from this month.Telkom spokeswoman Jacqui O'Sullivan said Bidvest had tabled a "commercially compelling and competitive proposal".Daimler was required to assist with a handover to Bidvest over three months, but now the parties are bickering about the fine print.Daimler spokeswoman Jeanette Clark said this week that clarity was lacking on "important topics relating to the expiry of the agreement", but would not say more.The case was argued this month, and judgment is expected on April 24.Telkom claims Daimler misinterpreted the handover terms.O'Sullivan said Daimler claimed the technician vans were excluded from the handover period deal."Telkom contends that the notion that the actual vehicles would not be included in the 'lead out' period is ... illogical," she said.She said all Telkom's vehicles "continue to operate as normal".Daimler was ordered to provide the service in a "status-quo" capacity pending the judgment.