Uproar over R6.5m World Cup website

2009-08-27 12:32

THE eThekwini Municipality (Durban) is not justified in spending R6.5 million

on its 2010 Fifa World Cup website, says Democratic Alliance councillor Warwick

Chapman.

Even after AdaptIT, the company that won the tender to set up and manage the

website www.fifaworldcup.durban.gov.za, issued a statement aimed at justifying

the cost on Friday, Chapman was still not convinced.

He maintained the project was a waste of taxpayer’s money given that the city

already has a website, www.durban.gov.za, that was of a high standard and on

which the city had already spent R8.1 million.

The DA also claimed that the city has been overcharged by at least R5 million

on the new project. The party said experts it had consulted maintained that the

project could have been done for about R250 000 without using expensive and

fancy components.

“The policy on free and open source software use for the South African

government, approved by cabinet in 2007, requires arms of government to make use

of open source and open standards compliant software where it exists as a

capable alternative to expensive commercial proprietary software,” said

Chapman.

AdaptIT chief executive Sbu Shabalala, through its media relations firm PR

Dynamics, said: “The project far exceeds mere web portal development, and

includes all facets of Durban’s 2010 online presence. It includes website

development and management, content creation, translation into five languages,

search engine optimisation, return on investment tracking and more.”

The company said: “While the total cost of the project is R6.5 million, this

cost includes aspects such as software licensing, hosting and server management

which is not strictly part of the AdaptIT budget.”

It provides this cost breakdown: “The portal itself accounts for about R4.3

million, broken down into R850 000 for the first phase which has been completed,

R1 397 760 for the second phase which is in progress and R1 601 800 for the last

phase. AdaptIT also added a contingency amount of R451 200 in their budget,

bringing their total cost to R4 300 760.”

Julie-May Ellingson, head of the City’s strategic project unit, said: “It is

important that the website provides a productive, memorable and frustration-free

experience for our visitors. We wanted to create a website that would be a

source of useful information for tourists who want to visit the city and to

showcase Durban as a technically savvy city.”

“The website will have features such as a live webcam of the Moses Mabhida

Stadium, the city’s host venue. Interactive postcards and image galleries also

feature in an attempt to make it user-friendly.”

However, the DA’s deputy shadow minister of co-operative governance Marti

Wenger said spending that much on marketing was a waste. “In KwaZulu-Natal, 33%

of the inhabitants live below the poverty line and almost 300 000 people are

living on less than R8 per day.”


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