Durban defends R6.5m website

The cost of developing the Durban city council’s World Cup website has been described as exorbitant, but the council says the R6.5 million price tag is justified as it was not only for the website design and development but includes content, translation and state of the art technology.

Mike Sutcliffe, who is the eThekwini city manager, said yesterday the technology that would be used for the website was generally not in use in South Africa. “My understanding is that it is really state-of-the-art stuff.”

But Arthur Goldstück, managing director of World Wide Worx, an independent technology market research company that conducts website benchmarking, said it appeared to be a case of people paying for technology they do not understand and were justifying the cost to themselves based on their perception of how high tech it sounded.

The city council’s World Cup website is being developed in three phases. To date about R800 000 had been spent on phase one, which has not yet been completed.

Phase one includes a wide range of information in Zulu and English and a site search function. Phase two would include video content, interactive city mapping and other facilities.

The content will also be translated into French, German and Spanish. Phase three will include visitor content, the integration of a Fifa content feed and a blogging function in different languages. The cost also includes filming video clips for the site and Sutcliffe believed it would cost about R1 million to ensure there was capacity to host the site.

Goldstuck said this appeared to be “a very standard service”. All added up, it should not come to more than about R1.5m, he said. Unless there was a plan to have city-wide web cams, “then the cost may be justified”. The city’s World Cup website appeared to be using technology that was already available and it did not require new software to be developed. “It doesn’tt make sense for that kind of money to be spent on this kind of site,” Goldstück added.

The site, which was launched two weeks ago, was being developed by JSE-listed firm AdaptIT. S’bu Shabalala, the managing director of AdapIT, declined to comment on the costs of the project.

Questions were raised this week by the DA about how the contract was awarded.

Sutcliffe said that the company had been appointed through the proper supply chain procedures to do work on the city’s website and it was decided to extend the ambit of its contract to include the World Cup website.

Durban 2010 website discussion

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Durban defends R6.5m website