Free State govt defends website project

2013-03-05 14:35

Bloemfontein - A total of 38 websites, and not only one, form part of the Free State's multi-year integrated website project, the provincial government said on Tuesday.

"In total, 38 re-engineered websites form part of this project, including the provincial government’s utilisation of social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter," said spokesperson Mondli Mvambi.

The project included websites for the 11 provincial departments, three provincial public entities and 24 municipalities.

Reports of R40m for website

Mvambi was reacting to reports that the Free State government was paying R40m for the development of a government website.

He said the total project of 38 websites cost R24m in the 2011/2012 finance year, and would cost R23.8m in the 2012/13 financial year.

Since the start of the project in 2011, the Free State premier’s department had financed about R14.8m of the project. This formed part of the R23.8m budgeted for in the 2012/2013 book year.

This expenditure had audited by the Office of the Auditor General, said Mvambi.

"The premier’s department obtained an unqualified audit, also known as a clean audit, for the 2011/2012 financial year."

The State Information and Technology Agency (Sita) was responsible for the hosting and security of the websites in the project.

The consortium of Cherry-Online-Ikamva-Jugganaut, in association with various community radio stations, had been appointed to deal with design, research, content development and generation in the first phase of the project.

The second phase would bring community radio stations on board with continuous content development, and updating and broadcasting of news and activities.

The three-year tender award was published in the provincial tender bulletin of 24 February 2012.


Mvambi said the project had experienced two major setbacks.

The Sita servers crashed in October and again two weeks ago, resulting in the loss of a lot of information. The project involved 20 000 approved documents.

Mvambi said the project was now in the final phase, involving a review of the websites of the 24 municipalities.

The province said the Free State government and municipalities' online presence was fragmented, outdated and cluttered with irrelevant information before 2011.

The project was aimed at not only improving this, but at addressing legislative and regulatory compliance aspects of departments, entities and municipalities.

Mvambi said provincial departments and entities had to comply with Treasury instructions on the information to be posted on a website.

Municipalities also had to comply with legislative prescripts in the Municipal Finance Management Act about the running of a website.

Civil rights group AfriForum indicated it would investigate the Free State website tender.

AfriForum’s deputy head of local government affairs Ivan Herselman said it would look at the circumstances surrounding the awarding of the tender, to determine whether there were any irregularities.

"We requested all the information from Sita and the Free State Provincial Government regarding the bid,” he said.

  • Ken O'Connell - 2013-03-05 14:47

    Nearly R98 mil in reality:

      glyn.morgan.96 - 2013-03-05 16:06

      Community radio stations???? Is the Free State taking over SABC? Just wondering.......

      MallyGold - 2013-03-05 17:08

      Wow Ken, that was a staggering read! I am of the opinion that the Free State Government website @ R98 million being the most expensive website ever built (or not built) in South Africa, will end up in the dustbin just like the previous website to hold that “dubious honour”, a South African Airways site aimed at foreign visitors which cost R90 million and was “binned” in 2001.

      CommonSense - 2013-03-05 17:39

      Maybe they should be spending the money on a backup system rather than a website. Crashed twice resulting in loss of data?? How unprofessional can you be?

  • qhuggett - 2013-03-05 14:50

    "The project included websites for the 11 provincial departments, three provincial public entities and 24 municipalities." All wish fall under one global website, with reused functionality for each of those sections. meaning you lying ..AGAIN! The amount paid is nonsense!!

      alan.gernet - 2013-03-05 15:13

      the Hawks should just investigate....

  • ready2go - 2013-03-05 14:50

    Wish this was my contract, I have done over 500 sites and never ever will that come close to R40mil, a BIG RAT...

      schmee.gol - 2013-03-05 15:56

      You clearly don't have buddies in the right places. But then again, probably not a good idea to have these kinds of buddies so rather be happy that you are earning your money the honest way.

  • kalabafazi - 2013-03-05 14:52

    So 38X $70=$2 660.00 At today's exchange rate of R9.06 = R24 099.80c So where is other R39 975 901 gone? The $70 being the cost of the template to set up the web site

  • Barney Dino - 2013-03-05 14:55

    Problem is these sites are anyway pathetically designed and not at all user-friendly. And majority of poor in Free State anyway does not have access to internet,....

  • Brett Balfour - 2013-03-05 14:57

    As owner of a web development company, the website in mention is not even cross browser friendly, R 25 000 at the most would be a fair price to have paid for this site if it worked properly!

  • criticallyhonest - 2013-03-05 14:58

    My goodness, is it believable? Such a lot of attention.....for what? Looks like self aggrandizement to me.

  • Mpho Chris Brown Moreki - 2013-03-05 15:03

    Hayi, but mondli that is still a lot of money to spend on developing 38 websites.Im wondering how often are these websites developed. It only costs about R20 000 to develop a website and already 48m has been spent to date.

  • alan.gernet - 2013-03-05 15:04

    blah vbah blah garbage blah cr*p blah blah garbage

  • daan.phalaborwa - 2013-03-05 15:04

    And pigs can fly.

      Rustic - 2013-03-05 21:07

      Ah yes. A squadron of porkers in green yellow and black just did a flyby over the Union Buildings.

  • Evan James Knowles - 2013-03-05 15:04

    Those 38 websites that are all hosted on the same IP and using the same design?

  • Gary5 - 2013-03-05 15:05

    Even 38 sites, back up ,servers, maintenance all on a free platform at 3000 per site??

  • Jacques Taljaardt - 2013-03-05 15:13

    Shouldn't the government be more concerned with educating the nation by building schools instead of websites?!!?

  • Tanya Booysen - 2013-03-05 15:14

    To many millions at your disposal

  • pieter.thefuture - 2013-03-05 15:23

    is it 38 websites, or 38 sections on the same website? Or is it 38 copies of the same website with only some content and colour schemes to make it different?

  • Stanley Langa - 2013-03-05 15:24

    How the heck is a R40mil (or R140mil) website going to benefit this country, not to mention the Free State province itself? Is this for an online "Learning" facility or perhaps for resolving "Service Delivery" issues? How many people in the Free State have Internet access? Makes me wonder what the intent was?

      schmee.gol - 2013-03-05 16:00

      Someones kid, that someone being a government official, just finished his webdesign course and needed a lucrative contract to keep them from robbing houses where they could be shot.

  • DerekMain - 2013-03-05 15:28

    Still doesn't explain why the cheapest tenderer didn't get the job. Seems like the person who did is a serial tendrepreneur, who obviously knows the tender game well, has friends in strategic places and quite possibly greases a few palms.

  • rob.fleming.104 - 2013-03-05 15:29

    Well, I must say this price is fair - most people forget to include the price of hosting the site on the main computer of the USS enterprise. With the Enterprise travelling at warp speed most of the time, and the site needing realtime info - communication is also very expensive - not to mention the temporal connection needed for connecting to a server in the future. And the added costs of having had the province associated with the colour orange in the past they have to make sure people are not comparing apples to oranges. All things considered, they are actually getting a bargain for R140 mil

      Leslie Erasmus - 2013-03-05 15:56

      Thank u Rob,now all of us understand including the FS citizens

      Stanley Langa - 2013-03-06 07:10

      The cool badge thingy is called a called the "Insignia Pin". It's also part of the deal, every Government Premier will get one.

  • Thegoldenhour RoadLanguage - 2013-03-05 15:32

    Just this morning on 702, political parties battled it out where a new party stated that ppl can check out their web site and the ANC speaker stated 'goes to show how stupid you are to think that the masses can access the internet'.... so why are they spending that kind of Tom that does not even reach the masses???????

  • Jonhy Russel - 2013-03-05 15:34

    It seems that we are not reading: “The SITA servers crashed in October and again two weeks ago,” This probably states that they had to procure NEW servers as the previous “resulting in the loss of a lot of information. The project involved 20 000 approved documents.” Then they needed to create new infra-structure LANS and WANS as this were not functional. This included maybe some fibre that needs to be installed between the different clients: “The province said the Free State government and municipalities' online presence was fragmented, outdated and cluttered with irrelevant information before 2011.” I just wonder if SITA is doing this what is the state of the official databases that they maintain, what is the frequency of “fall over” If Tax payer = (funding (private roads + communication + useless stuff)corruption) Then taxpayer = sucker End if

  • Pieter Kaine Vd Merwe - 2013-03-05 15:39

    THAT'S STILL 1MIL PER WEBSITE!? wtf is wrong with you people!?

  • Nicola Pillay - 2013-03-05 15:39

    Firstly, by the look of the websites, it isn't so extravagant to cost that much nor is it user friendly. Secondly, the majority of people in the Free State do not have Internet access and where Internet access may be available, there is poor network coverage in many places. Thirdly, the water is terrible in the Free State, I would not dare drink it, so fix your basic needs like providing drinkable water, before trying to look good online, not that I think the sites look good anyway! There are many IT unemployed people or even IT companies who would have created these websites for a fraction of this price. The money spent on this is absurd, actually, that's quite an understatement! I wonder if the person or people who authorized this, even knows how to log onto the Internet!!!

  • clint.mawing - 2013-03-05 15:53

    For 40mil, you should have NO DOWNTIME.

  • glyn.morgan.96 - 2013-03-05 16:05

    Community radio stations???? Is the Free State taking over SABC? Just wondering.......

  • Sue Potgieter - 2013-03-05 16:07


  • Holdanigono - 2013-03-05 16:08

    You have to count for content generation, stock images, hosting and load balancing etc. This should have been a maximum of R200k per site, and that is generous. The current price is ridiculous. They are currently on a payment plan, it breaks down to roughly R30 000 per website per month. Seeing the shoddy work that is done it is hardly worth it. They could employ 38 top end webmasters for that price. The only other way I see this escalating to that price is if you include adwords and advertising on social media- which I see no need for as these departments are a service, not a product. It is complete overkill.The project should not have been on such a huge monthly retainer- the first phase should have been done with an additional retainer of perhaps R3000 per month for 12 hours worth of minor changes. In-house training could have been given to enable the departments to make their own changes.

  • Cheryl Van Dyk - 2013-03-05 16:34

    Absolute rubbish!!!! This whole issue is an insult to the tax payer.

  • musa.kamashobane - 2013-03-05 16:44

    R40mil for websites? In the land of the poor, if there are any poor people according to the ruling party. Disgusting!

  • christi.roestorff - 2013-03-05 16:59

    People are still living in shacks, don't have running water, using buckets for their bodily waste, queuing at clinics and hospitals, dying from disease, getting raped and murdered, what they have gets a stolen from them, there isn't enough money for teachers or textbooks. But millions is spent on websites? I thought people voted for this government because it was in touch with them and there needs?

  • WendyWill Kelly - 2013-03-05 17:09

    I was just annoyed at the appalling lack of porn on the website. For R40 bar or R80 bar I at least expect some decent stuff of people being screwed - oh wait a minute....

  • pws69 - 2013-03-05 18:34

    Reading this report, the costs exceed R97 million, and Goldstuck is being conservative, so bank on over R100 million.

  • Black B.E.E Diamond - 2013-03-05 19:14

    So they even paid to get onto twitter and facebook when I can join for FREE from my house. what a joke!

  • Riva Jeffrey - 2013-03-05 20:36

    I think that our government think they are playing with monopoly money. Easy come easy go!

  • John Deysel - 2013-03-06 18:26

    I wonder why this issue is brought to the world's attention now - a year after the tender was awarded and published. The companies that lost the bid could have taken government to court and have had the process overthrown.I would for that money... government does not have a good record in tender cases. I think there is something else going on here...

  • Robin Bersiks - 2013-03-07 08:48

    My company paid an IT company with no BEE credentials R8000.00 to set up a very good and efficient website.Makes you think doesnt it?

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