ANC website battle: Party fails to secure ruling, wants to go to court instead

2019-01-31 21:26
ANC members. (Ian Carbutt)

ANC members. (Ian Carbutt)

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The ANC failed to obtain rights to the domain name of its website after an adjudicator, appointed by DomainDisputes.co.za, ruled against the party this week.

The party approached the body after service provider Unwembi Communications claimed ownership of ANC domain name www.anc.org.za.

News24 previously reported that there were allegations of non-payment of a R32m bill to the service provider, which prompted Unwembi to pull the plug, forcing the party to register a new domain and leave behind years of data.

READ: ANC website remains down amid allegations of R32m outstanding bill

"This website is suspended due to non-payment by the service provider," read the message which greeted browsers who tried to access the site.

But, in its submission to the adjudicator, the ANC said that Unwembi posted a malicious notice on the website, which had a serious impact on its image, brand and business.

The party claimed Unwembi had acted in bad faith, notwithstanding agreements entered into, which were included in a termination of contract between the two parties.

The  said it was now considering litigation.

"Since the decision of the adjudicator ruled against the ANC, we will now pursue legal action on our domain name and websites, and have already briefed senior counsel," the party said in a statement.

READ MORE: ANC's revamped website goes live after non-payment drama

The party said Unwembi was formed by individuals, with the assistance of the ANC, who were initially part of the movement's IT department that registered and developed the website.

"When Unwembi was formed in 1997, the ANC entrusted the comrades with the responsibility to continue to manage its websites. Around 2015, ownership of Unwembi changed hands, when some of its original founders retired," the statement went on.

The ANC said that its struggle to regain ownership and control over the domain name was a matter of principle.

"It is an important part of the 107-year-old legacy of our movement and people, and no private company or individual can claim rights over this rich and illustrious history."

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