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Govt signs fleet deal with Bidvest

by Sunday Express
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Avis Country Manager, Keith Dell (2)

Avis Country Manager, Keith Dell

…ends eight-year partnership with Avis

Keiso Mohloboli

Government has signed a six-month partnership with Bidvest Car Rental after deciding to end its eight-year relationship with Avis Fleet Lesotho—a subsidiary of Seahlolo Transport Logistics (Pty) Ltd.

The company’s relationship with government had increasingly become sour over recent months with claims and counter-claims of overdue payments and unfair billing bordering on fraud.

The two parties entered into a renewable partnership on 1 November 2007 through which Avis, which is 75 percent owned by South Africa’s Zeda Car Leasing with the remaining shares belonging to a Basotho consortium, would provide government with vehicles and also service the fleet.

The current deal ends on Wednesday this week and government has decided not to renew it due to the fallout which is likely to spill into the courts of law.

Finance Minister ‘Mamphono Khaketla on Friday announced the end of the Avis deal through a statement which reads in part: “You will all remember that the government of Lesotho closed down its fleet known as Plant and Vehicle Pool Services in 2002 and decided to get into contracts with independent transport entrepreneurs.

“From 2002, government fleet services were managed by Imperial and their contract ended in 2007. In 2007, Seahlolo Transport Logistics entered into a contract with the government of Lesotho until 2012. The government then renewed their contract with Seahlolo Transport Logistics and the contract will be ending on 30 September 2015.

“The nation is therefore informed that the government will publish tenders to supply and maintain the government fleet. All interested parties must be ready to make applications because the announcement will be made very soon.

“During the processes of tendering and selection of the best candidate, the government of Lesotho has arranged a temporary contract with Bidvest company. The arrangement will only take six months so that the running of government services cannot be stopped

“Moving from AVIS to Bidvest might take a few days and also cause inconveniences. For that reason, the government of Lesotho is pleading with the nation to be patient and bear with all the inconveniences. All concerned departments such as the police and Lesotho Revenue Authority have been informed of the change and asked by the government to speed up the changing processes.”

Avis country manager Keith Dell could not be reached to comment on the company’s next course of action after writing to government last month that the firm was withdrawing its services due to a ballooning debt.

On the other hand, government says Avis has been billing it for services the company never provided, with a parliamentary committee recommending the termination of the contract and recovery of the money in excess of M20million.

Meanwhile, government’s new partner, Bidvest, is headquartered in South Africa and has branches throughout Southern Africa.

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