Afrirent parks midnight grounding of City of Joburg vehicle fleet after 11th-hour meeting

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Joburg Mayor Mpho Phalatse's office says the fleet issues are being resolved.
Joburg Mayor Mpho Phalatse's office says the fleet issues are being resolved.
PHOTO: Gallo Images
  • On Wednesday, Afrirent notified the City of Johannesburg of a decision to ground the fleet of vehicles the company leases.
  • But both parties have agreed to meet first to discuss their contractual dispute.
  • The City will keep the fleet for now.

The City of Johannesburg will keep the fleet of vehicles it leases from Afrirent – for now, at least – after both parties agreed to meet to discuss the dispute between them.

Earlier, Afrirent CEO Sizwe Tsabedze notified the City of a decision to ground the fleet at midnight on Wednesday, due to a fallout with the metro over its contract.

But, after a late-night meeting with the City on Wednesday, Tsabedze told News24 that the company agreed to halt the grounding until Thursday morning.

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"Yes, the midnight seizure is off. We will meet tomorrow morning. The meeting was between myself and the acting City manager (Bryne Maduka). We raised our issues with the City's leadership," Tsabedze said.

He said the company and the City were at loggerheads over the City's accusations of corruption and contractual disputes with the City.

According to Tsabedze, the company's contract with the City ended last month, but Afrirent continued its services after the City asked for a three-month extension.

However, the company was not satisfied with the terms of the new contract, including a term that Afrirent would not be allowed to increase its prices for the duration of the extension. 

It was not the first extension, he pointed out.

"Our original contract with the City ended in 2019, but they asked for several extensions, all of which included the term that we could not increase our prices. This is not realistic because everything is going up. Petrol is expensive, the cars are old and maintenance is costly," he said.

In the notice the company gave the City before the meeting, it said it would ground all vehicles that are used across 12 departments and urged the City to park the fleet where it could access it at midnight. Buses that collect Pikitup employees were included.

Mabine Seabe, the spokesperson for Johannesburg Mayor Mpho Phalatse, confirmed that the City would keep the fleet.

He said: "[The] midnight [grounding] is off. We will keep the fleet."

He added that the MMC for group corporate and shared services, Leah Knott, would share further details on Thursday.


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