Shortage of vehicles for Telkom technicians

2015-07-23 06:00
PHOTO: Jonathan Burton

Several vehicles were parked at Telkom in Oribi.

PHOTO: Jonathan Burton Several vehicles were parked at Telkom in Oribi.

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TELKOM technicians have been unable to attend to customer complaints because they allegedly have no vehicles.

The company recently changed contractors managing its vehicle fleet, resulting in the shortage of ­vehicles.

The previous contractor was Debis, and Bidvest took over from 1 May.

The problem is countrywide as this was a national decision.

Sources claimed that for the past week many technicians in Pietermaritzburg have been at their base in Oribi­, unable to work.

Telkom denied that their employees­ did not work, saying they had been on duty during the [change-over] period and had tried to deal with the challenge of cars.

The Witness visited the Telkom yard and found a number of cars parked there. Some of them were unmarked, with no ladders or Telkom logos.

An official at the yard said the technicians had been unable to work for two days.

“There was a new contractor appointed who brought in some plain cars that technicians could not use. They did not work for two days, but they have now resumed work and some new cars have been brought in,” he said.

However, a local businessman told a different story. He said for the previous week his business phone lines had been down and technicians had not been able to attend to them.

“I went there and spoke to one of the officials who told me that many people had been affected. The technicians cannot work because the cars they have been provided with by the new contractor are not suitable. Even as we speak, my phone line is still down,” he said last week.

“We understand that many people are affected by this.”

Sinah Phochana, Telkom’s executive for PR corporate, said the changeover had been a huge project resulting in 5 500 cars across the country needing to be manufactured and customised.

“A changeover of service providers of this magnitude requires significant operational changes and requires a large number of new purpose-built vehicles­ to be available from the manufacturers­.

“As a consequence, Bidvest is utilising some short-term rental vehicles for the month of July, while the remainder of the new vehicles are registered and delivered to Telkom,” said Phochana.

Phochana said by the end of July, the complete new fleet will be in operation.

“Telkom and Bidvest are working closely together on this handover, and neither party expects there to be significant­ or material operational issues as a result of this handover.”

Phochana said the disruptions had been minimal.

“We cannot deny that one or two customers were affected.

“Our workers were on duty. Where there were shortages of cars, they doubled up.”

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