R 6.5 million website under scrutiny

The Durban City Council recently announced that it has launched the official Durban 2010 website.  According to Julie-May Ellingson, Head of Durban’s Strategic Projects Unit, “The new Durban 2010 website now gives us a platform to proudly showcase the city and 2010 developments to the rest of the world!”  

“The website is a source of up-to-date information with factual, easy-to-read content on subjects such as stadium construction, infrastructure development and transportation,” said Ellingson.

It is however not the website’s functionality or service offerings which made the headlines, but rather the price tag of R 6.5-million for developing the site.  The Durban 2010 website was designed by JSE listed company Adapt-IT, but according to ITWeb neither Adapt-IT nor the municipality provided them with details about the cost structure of the project.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has now questioned the high cost of the project, saying that “using the specifications provided by the City Council, the website could not possibly have cost more than R250,000, and may well have cost less than half of that amount.”

“So what has happened to the other R6.25-million? Has the money been misappropriated by Ethekwini municipal officials, or was the Council simply duped out of over R5-million?” asked Marti Wenger, the DA’s Shadow Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

The DA said that it will be asking Municipal Manager Mike Sutcliffe to investigate this matter thoroughly in order to get to the bottom of what IT specialists have told them appears to be an exorbitant fee for any website.  “For that you could programme Google,” the DA was told by one IT specialist, who found the figure quoted as “crazy”.

“This is an outrageous waste of money, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal where 33% of its inhabitants live below the poverty line and where almost 300,000 people are living on less than R8 per day,” said Wenger.

“The DA will be asking Mr. Sutcliffe to provide details of what budget vote the funds came from, when and where the tender for the project was advertised, how many tender bids were received and the cost of each of these applications, and how the final decision was made. We will also be asking what steps the municipality will be undertaking to review this wasteful expenditure,” Wenger concluded.

Durban 2010 website cost – do you think it should have cost R 6.5 million?

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R 6.5 million website under scrutiny