New ANC website devoid of history

The ANC has launched a new website after the party parted ways with its long-time web developer.
The ANC has launched a new website after the party parted ways with its long-time web developer.
Image: SANDILE NDLOVU

The ANC has been dealt a major blow after its unpaid web developer withheld the party's key historical records, including speeches of former presidents and discussion papers.

Yesterday, the party launched its new website www.anc1912.org.za which does not contain some of its founding documents, profiles of former presidents, January 8 statements and many other archival material that was accessible on its original site.

Unwembi Communications, a service provider that developed and maintained the ANC's website for over 20 years, shut down the site three weeks ago due to nonpayment of about R32.5m.

The new site also does not have pages for party structures such as the ANC Women's League and ANC Youth League, as well as any information on the centenary celebrations of its struggle icon Nelson Mandela.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said due to a dispute between the party and Unwembi Communications over the domain, they have considered taking legal action.

"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.

"We have since advised our legal team to look into the matter after what we viewed as a deliberate attempt to cast doubt on our reputation and [our] public standing was paraded out in the public, with a big place holder telling everyone that the website is closed due to nonpayment."

I haven't received communication from anybody [that they have paid]

Mabe said the ANC has since written to South African Domain "demanding the return of our domain, which we deem to be a property of the ANC and that no private company should attempt to lay claim on the inheritance".

Mabe said the party received a notification from Unwembi for a settlement of R3.6m in owed money for services for a period of six months.

Unwembi Communications' Duncan Harford told Sowetan on Sunday that the ANC had not yet paid the R32m owed to them.

"I haven't received communication from anybody [that they have paid]. I will be very surprised if that is the case.

"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," he said.

"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."

Yesterday, Harford declined to comment, referring all inquiries to MD Andrew Friedman, who could not be reached for comment.

Mabe said a new in-house webmaster has been appointed to oversee the website.

"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. "

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