The “Free State Online” website was offline for most of today following yesterday’s news exposing the South African provincial government for having spent millions of rand to update it and related sites.
The Sowetan newspaper accused the Free State provincial government of spending ZAR140 million (US$15.4 million) for a redesign of their website (and other related websites), which is apparently powered by the free website building platform WordPress.
The province’s director general, Elzabe Rockman, denied these claims and said the government only spent ZAR40 million (US$4.4 million) for the redesign of the site.
The contract was tendered to Tumi Ntsele, who is reported to be in possession of several other provincial tenders and is a professional the Democratic Alliance (DA) calls a “politically-connected businessman”.
The Free State government has also defended its extravagant spending by saying the amount was much lower and was spent to facilitate the updating of 38 different websites linked to the Free State Online website.
However, the website in question was back online in the late hours of this afternoon.