R100-million Free State WordPress website details emerge

The controversial Free State Online website project had a ceiling total of R117-million for developing 38 sites, according to a report on ITWeb.

According to ITWeb, it has a copy of the winning bid and the total price comes to R39.1-million each year for 3 years, with the price increasing by 7.5% every year for inflation.

It also includes R14.2-million for travel costs.

Free State spokesperson Mondli Mvambi gave the impression in March 2013 that the price being reported was grossly overstated, and said that the expenditure for the site to-date had been audited.

ITWeb reported that Mvambi declined to comment pending the outcome of an audit which will include the Free State’s new website.

While somewhat lower than the R140-million price point originally reported by Sowetan, this price is much closer to the initial reports than the Free State’s claims that it would cost them under R50-million in the first two financial years.

An earlier analysis of the tender award document that was provided to Radio 702 also suggested that the price for the website project could come to over R100-million.

The analysis was conducted by Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx, during March 2013, using conservative estimates for the per-hour line items of the tender award document.

Free State Online website
Free State Online website

Asked to clarify the discrepancies between Goldstuck’s analysis and the far lower price quoted by the Free State government, Mvambi provided the following statement at the time:

This was the proposal and projections. The project did not commence in the 2011/2012 financial year according to the proposed time-lines over the full 12 months of a financial year and therefore all other time-lines were affected over the 3 year period.

Assumptions about the number of persons and number of hours are not correct.

Various variances are not taken into account, e.g. local municipalities have their own contractual obligations and will be brought on board this project as and when their current contractual commitments expire.

These matters are addressed in the Service Level Agreement and financial implications are limited by the SLA as well.

There is no need to further comment on the details of this matter as we have confirmed the total expenditure on the project thus far.

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R100-million Free State WordPress website details emerge