Battle for control of ANC official site headed to the High Court

2019-04-27 16:03

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The ANC will now have to fight for its website's domain via the courts, this after being served with a summons on Monday by Unwembi Communications.

Last week the party won an appeal before a three-panel arbitration after losing an initial bid to win back the site before the South African Institute of Intellectual property law.

In 2018 the www.ANC.org.za site was down for about three weeks in September over its R32m debt to Unwembi, its former service provider. In October the party then launched www.ANC1912.org.za.

ANC head of elections Fikile Mbalula told News24 the site was won back "legally," before referring the publication to the party's general manager Phoebe Potgieter.

Potgieter said while the ANC had won back its site and was waiting for the domain to be handed over from Unwembi. However, this will no longer take place as the communications company has now lodged new court processes against the party.

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

Unwembi's lawyer Gert van der Merwe said this was the second matter his client had brought forward against the ANC.

"We have two summonses against the ANC, first over the R32m owed to my clients and now this declaratory order asking the court to decide on the actual owner of the domain," said Van Der Merwe.

The governing party also announced when it launched its new site that it would sue its former service provider.

Some ANC members had criticised the decision to launch a new site, complaining that the official site - which remains down - was a treasure trove filled with documents and key information about former leaders, structures and the development of the 107-year-old former liberation movement.

Mbalula, who did not seem to know the ANC had been served by Unwembi, said the site was great not only for those keen to know more about the party over the elections period, but that it also served as an archive for researchers and scholars.

Potgieter said the panel had given Unwembi 10 days to hand back the site to the ANC.

Van Der Merwe said the rules of the forum state that if a summons is issued in the High Court then its directive does not get implemented.

Also read: ANC's revamped website goes live after non-payment drama

Read more on:    anc  |  politics
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