Just yesterday, there was a lot of buzz on Twitter on news that the Free State Provincial government spent R140 million to re-design their website. Other rumors decreased the amount R40 million and the South African public was still frustrated.
So to clear things ups, here is statement by the FS government on how much was spent, and what it was spent on. I believe that most of the money goes to creating content, extensive research of content which is over a long period of time. As the owner of Wonted I also know that the work isn't in creating the site, but making sure that the site remains relevant.. which does cost money. The statement goes to say that the tender was given to company to manage about 38 sites under the Free State government. So each department under the FS government got a revamp. Below is the statement:
The Free State provincial government initiated a project in 2011 to create an integrated on-line presence for the broader Free State provincial and local government sector. Prior to this project, the online presence of the Free State government and municipalities were fragmented, outdated and cluttered with irrelevant information.
This project has brought on-line the new websites of provincial departments and this will be followed by municipalities and provincial public entities. In total, 38 re-engineered websites form part of this project. The provincial government’s utilization of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are also included in the project scope. The 38 websites include those of the 11 provincial departments, 3 provincial public entities and 24 municipalities in the province.
The State Information & Technology Agency (SITA) is responsible for the hosting and security of the websites in terms of this project. The consortium of Cherry-Online-Ikamva-Jugganaut, in association with various community radio stations, was appointed to deal with issues such as design, research, content development and generation during the first phase of the project. The second phase of the project will bring community radio stations on board with continuous content development, update of news and activities as well as broadcasting thereof. The tender award for a three-year period was published in the Provincial Tender Bulletin of 24 February 2012.
The extensive research, content development and generation is evident from the fact that current content development process for provincial departments, entities and municipalities has resulted in a total number of 20 877 documents and/or information pieces being researched, collated, generated and/or developed.
The detailed project cost was set out in the published provincial Tender Bulletin of 24 February 2012. Project cost during the 2011/2012 financial year amounted to approximately R24 million and the 2012/2013 project cost has amounted to approximately R23.8 million. Costs are shared between the Department of the Premier and Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
The project is not only an initiative aimed at increasing the provincial and local governments’ utilization of online and social media, but also addresses compliance of departments, entities and municipalities with legislative and regulatory requirements. Departments and entities must comply with certain Treasury instructions regarding information to be posted on the website. The local government sector must comply with legislative prescripts set out in section 74 of the Municipal Finance Management Act.
The tender was awarded during the 2011/2012 financial year and was included in the regularity audit conducted by the Office of the Auditor-General. The Department of the Premier obtained an unqualified audit with no findings, also known as a “clean” audit, for the 2011/2012 financial year.
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