Minister claims South African DigiTech “app store” didn’t cost a cent

Communications minister, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, has revealed that their DigiTech “app store” to showcase South African innovation was designed and developed by the State Information Technology Agency (Sita).

She also acknowledged that her department isn’t satisfied with the quality and functionality of the DigiTech website.

In response to parliamentary questions from the Democratic Alliance’s Solly Malatsi, Ntshavheni stated that the design and development of the website didn’t cost a cent, adding that it is undergoing a redesign.

The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT) launched the DigiTech website on 17 May 2022.

“DigiTech serves as a digital distribution service developed, maintained, and operated by the South African government,” Ntshavheni stated.

The website describes the platform as a digital products portal for South Africa, supported by the DCDT.

“Through DigiTech, the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies seek to promote SA-developed digital products in other markets whilst facilitating partnerships with other countries on co-promotion of local technologies,” the website reads.

“The platform allows users to browse and download apps developed across operating systems.”

However, when MyBroadband visited the DigiTech website, its “marketplace” offered nothing more than a grid of YouTube videos.

The department soon faced backlash over the website, with Malatsi saying it looks like a high schooler could have developed it.

An anonymous security researcher told MyBroadband that the website ran on an outdated version of Drupal. Drupal has tagged the software as insecure.

MyBroadband also established that the site was built using a $59 (R1,000) Drupal template.

Sita set the site up so anyone could register an account and upload a “digital product”, complete with images and video links.

Needless to say, some users had a field day uploading Rickrolls and other videos like “Pepe the Frog doing REEEE for 10 hours”.

Now read: Big government website outage — Police, Presidency, and National Treasury sites down

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Minister claims South African DigiTech “app store” didn’t cost a cent