Telkom has won a high-stakes case against Daimler Fleet Management over management of the telecommunications operator’s full fleet of 6 000 service vehicles.
The vehicles are used by Telkom’s field technicians across South Africa.
The high court in Pretoria has ordered that Daimler pay costs, including Telkom’s.
Outsourcing of the business can now go ahead to Telkom new supplier, Bidvest.
“We are pleased the judge concurred with our view and that the transition to Bidvest will continue to be undertaken in a seamless and professional manner,” said Telkom spokesman Jacqui O’Sullivan.
“This fleet contract addresses a key aspect of our business and our customer service. Throughout this tender process, Telkom conducted itself in a transparent, fair and reasonable manner to ensure consistent service to our customers.”
Telkom awarded its fleet management contract to Daimler Fleet Management, which is a subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, in 2000. The contract was renewed in 2008 and was extended twice, in 2012 and again in 2013.
In mid-2014, Telkom “opted to test the market” and placed the fleet management business out on tender. “Following a rigorous and competitive tendering process, Bidvest was awarded the fleet management contract,” O’Sullivan said previously.
O’Sullivan explained that Telkom’s contract with Daimler Fleet Management — also known as Debis Fleet Management — makes provision for a three-month “lead out” phase after the expiry of the contract. “During this ‘lead out’ period, Debis is required to assist Telkom in managing an orderly transition to the new service provider, in this instance the newly appointed Bidvest,” she said.
“In March this year, Debis informed Telkom that its interpretation of the contract was that the vehicles used by Telkom’s national team of technicians were not included in this ‘lead out’ phase.”
O’Sullivan says the court has ordered that “Debis Fleet Management provide Telkom with its vehicles, as per the contract, through-out the ‘lead-out phase’ and that Debis should also apply their best endeavours to ensure a seamless service is provided to Telkom”.
“Debis has also been ordered to collaborate with Bidvest … on all reasonable transition requests such as the provision of relevant information,” she says.
“This judgment is a complete vindication of Telkom’s view that the existing contract was entirely clear on the ‘lead-out’ obligations required from Debis.”
Daimler brought the matter before the high court in Pretoria on an urgent basis on 7 April. A company spokesman was not immediately able to say it plans to appeal the judgment. — © 2015 NewsCentral Media