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Pretoria - Driving licence card manufacturer Prodiba Ltd and Transport Minister Dipuo Peters are at loggerheads again, and their conflict has resulted in yet another urgent application before the Pretoria High Court.

Prodiba is accusing the department of harassing its employees and not honouring its obligations.

Last year, the court set aside the department’s decision to cancel its agreement with Prodiba, which was aimed at a phased in-house takeover of the production and migration to new plastic chip-based cards.

The department is set on fighting this order in the Supreme Court of Appeal, but Prodiba, meanwhile, has the go-ahead to continue manufacturing the paper driving licences.

This week, Prodiba returned to court to ask for an interim order interdicting the government from entering its Erasmuskloof premises, where the cards are manufactured, and from harassing its employees. The company also wants the department to pay it an outstanding amount of more than R9 million.

The department, on the other hand, maintained the applicant’s contract had come to an end.

Andre Appelgryn, a Prodiba director, said in court papers that the department has been ordered to comply with its agreement. But he said the department is set on circumventing it by unlawfully taking over the applicant’s production facility.

He said a member of the department recently arrived at the applicant’s premises, accompanied by five policemen, where they held a meeting. “This approach speaks volumes of the tactics being employed by the department and what means they will use to achieve their ends.”

Appelgryn added that the departmental official voiced her fear that the applicant would sabotage the licence-card production system so the department would not be able to take over the system. He said the department has no rights to their (the applicant’s) facility.

Judge Neil Tuchten this week asked counsel for the department about the visit to the company’s offices: “One of your officials marched into the building and that is not (stipulated) in the agreement (with the applicant). Who authorised the director-general to march in?”

The department undertook to co-operate with the company to ensure the smooth running of the paper-based driving licence cards, until the Supreme Court of Appeal rules on the matter. - Pretoria News