Telkom wins court dispute

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pretoria - Telkom has won a court dispute against ZTE Mzansi, which had put the fixed line operator’s planned network overhaul on hold.

The Supreme Court of Appeal on Monday set aside the North Gauteng High Court’s interim interdict against Telkom. The appeal was upheld with costs.

“We had no doubt that Telkom’s Procurement Policy and Procedures would not be found wanting,” Telkom group chief executive officer, Nombulelo Moholi, said.

In March last year, Telkom was interdicted from implementing the tender for Multi Services Access Node (“MSAN”) provision and concluding any service level agreement with the successful bidders.

This was pending the outcome of arbitration between Telkom and ZTE Mzansi. 

In July 2011, the fixed line operator published a tender for the provision of MSAN. ZTE Mzansi had submitted a bid but was not shortlisted because it failed to meet certain critical technical criteria during the evaluation process.

Following a fair, open, transparent and competitive procurement process, Telkom awarded the tender to Huawei and Alcatel-Lucent Technologies on 21 November 2011.

However in January 2012, ZTE served an application upon Telkom seeking to restrain it from implementing the tender in terms of an interim interdict. Telkom and Alcatel–Lucent opposed the application.

In May 2012, the North Gauteng High Court granted Telkom leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal against the interdict. The Supreme Court of Appeal held that it would be an “unbusinesslike” construction and absurd if Telkom was obliged to resolve disputes with multiple bidders by arbitration with varying awards before it could safely implement an award.

Additionally, the court confirmed that no contractual relationship was created when a bidder submits a tender in response to an invitation by Telkom to do so.

Telkom on 4 March launched DSL up to 20Mbps and DSL up to 40Mpbs options to the market.

“Telkom is pleased that the deployment of the MSAN and the rollout of the higher speed broadband project has overcome a potential obstacle and can now continue unabated,” said Moholi. –