TATA International Africa has brought the tally of trucks supplied to the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport (DoT) this year, to in excess of 65 units. The latest delivery of 28 trucks, which will operate in the eThekwini (Durban) and Empangeni regions, were handed over to the KwaZulu-Natal DoT at an event held at the Department’s offices in Merebank, Durban.

“High quality and durable transport play a vital role in the delivery of services and products to communities throughout South Africa. We are very pleased that these additional Tata trucks will be contributing to enhancing service levels in the region,” said Len Brand, CEO of Tata International Africa.

For the past 17 years, the South African Government and its various departments and State-Owned Enterprises have purchased Tata trucks in South Africa, including the South African Police Service, Defense Force, Air Force, Water Affairs, KZN Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), the Department of Community Safety, and Correctional Services. Municipalities around the country have also placed Tata trucks at the top of their list of preferred fleet purchases to carry out reliable services to the communities they serve.

“Our trucks are known for their reliability, toughness and durability and are well-suited to South Africa’s environment and road networks. We are delighted to have been awarded this tender and to continue as a supplier of choice to the various departments of the South African Government,” Brand added.

In line with the National Department of Transport’s policy of encouraging local procurement, the trucks were built at the Tata Motors plant in Rosslyn, Tshwane, while the truck bodies were manufactured and supplied to meet the Department’s specifications by Kholeka Engineering, a subsidiary of Isipho Capital Holdings, located in Westmead, Pinetown.

At the handover of the 28 units, Logan Pillay, Deputy Director, Mechanical, for Durban and Empangeni regions, said: “The KZN Department of Transport decided to introduce Tata trucks into the fleet to see for itself how the vehicles performed. So far, we are pleased with the performance of the vehicles as well as the service received from Tata.” 

“Historically, road construction and maintenance operations were male-dominated areas. Over the years, more and more females entered the industry, however, they were not considered in terms of provision of comfort in the truck and the furnishing of ablution facilities out in the field. Thankfully, through our partnership with Kholeka Engineering who modified the Tata worker transport trucks, there is a toilet on board each vehicle.”

He said based on the all-round performance of the initial fleet of trucks from Tata, another 40 trucks will be delivered in the new financial year.

Thami Khumalo, Department of Transport Chief Director (Durban), also present at the handover, said by giving women comfort in the Tata trucks, innovation was being carried to the fore, to ensure gender parity.

He added that the collaboration with Kholeka Engineering bodes well for the development of the local motor manufacturing industry.

The latest delivery consists of 23 Tata LPT 1518 dual purpose models with an air-conditioned crew cab that includes toolboxes for each worker, as well as a separate toilet and small dropside section at the rear for carrying equipment. Taking the delivery to 28 are five Tata LPT 1623 models fitted with 6 000-litre water tanks for use in road-building projects as well as for supplying drinking water to communities in the region.

All trucks have been painted in a golden yellow which makes them easily recognisable.

Prashant Shukla, Head of Sales and Marketing for Tata International Africa in South Africa said the key objective with every delivery of vehicles, is customer satisfaction.

“Supplying the trucks is only the start of the Tata relationship with our customers. We are acutely aware of the importance of maximum Uptime, and have allocated a dedicated field technician with a fully equipped service van, based in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as a dedicated support team, all backed by a fully-stocked parts warehouse. We will be providing free training for the drivers and technicians of our vehicles.

“The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport can rest assured that it will enjoy excellent service, backed by our commitment to maximum uptime, ensuring the vehicles are on the road doing what they are supposed to do,” concluded Shukla.