ANC launches new website, sues service provider

Screengrab of the new ANC website.
Screengrab of the new ANC website.

The ANC has officially launched its website after an almost three-week shutdown due to nonpayment.

"This web platform aims to address knowledge deficit about the programmes of the movement and create an ANC popular culture and make the ANC a way of life. The web platform will also provide our online broadcast platform, radio 1912, which henceforth will feed audio onto our web platform," said ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe.

Speaking at Luthuli House on Monday, Mabe said those seeking to access the website will now use www.anc1912.org.za instead of the usual www.anc.org.za which is currently down.

Its former service provider, Unwembi Communications, has claimed that the ANC owed it R32.5m for developing and hosting the party's website for over two decades..

Mabe said that the party had decided to "cut ties" with the service provider.

"About a month ago, our previous web service provider Unwembi furnished the ANC with a cancellation and payment settlement plan which we mutually agreed to end web services provided by Unwembi at November 30 2018," said Mabe.

He said that the mutual agreement settlement fee is R3.7m.  

On Sunday, Duncan Harford of Unwembi Communications said the ANC had not yet paid it and Luthuli House could have found an alternative service provider.

"I haven't received communication from anybody [that they have paid]. I will be very surprised if that is the case," Harford said. "I'm not involved in the business side of the company, I am involved in the production side. I am unable to comment about those things. All I can say is that we have been doing business with the ANC for 21 years and you can't be doing business for a company for that long but you are not doing the right thing."

However, Mabe said the ANC has already started a process of taking legal action against the service provider.

"Our legal team has written to SA Domain demanding the return of our domain which we deem to be a property of the ANC and no private company can attempt to lay claim on the inheritance of our people," he said.

Mabe told reporters that the party would also seek to open an extortion case against Unwembi Communications over the domain.

The ANC uses the website to provide information about upcoming events, the history of the party, policy documents, previous and current leader profiles and branch data, to name a few.

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