ANC website battle heads to court
Unwembi Communications is suing the ANC for R32m for defaulting on payment
A battle between the ANC and a communications company, that has left the ruling party without its official website since September this year, will now be heading to court.
Unwembi Communications is suing the ANC for R32m for hosting and developing the party’s website and membership system, which it says the party has not paid for.
When the ANC’s official website went down in September, attorneys for Unwembi Communications said they had instructed the service provider to withhold services until the monies had been paid.
A notice saying “This website is suspended due to nonpayment to the service provider" was put on the website, but has since been removed.
In October, the party launched its new “revamped” website but on a completely different domain name.
At the time, ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe said the party had decided to cut ties with the service provider and that the mutual agreement settlement fee was R3.7m.
That same month, Hogan Lovells for the ANC, wrote to Unwembi’s lawyers saying the party would make arrangements to pay the service provider, but only the amounts which it was liable for under the agreement with the company.
The ANC also asked for copies of all invoices and wanted it's domain name and website restored.
However, on Tuesday, Unwembi Communications lawyer Gert van der Merwe said no payment was ever made and now a summons has been issued by the high court in Pretoria.
The ANC has filed a notice of intention to defend the action.
“They have applied to have the domain name registered in their name, that is pending and our defence to that is of course they can get it we don’t want it, but they just need to pay us,” Van der Merwe said.
ANC acting spokesperson Dakota Legoete confirmed that the party would be opposing the matter.
He said that with the party’s domain name, the matter had been taken to mediation and an outcome was expected on December 28.
Unwebi was responsible for developing the ANC membership system and the development, hosting and support of the party’s websites, nationally and provincially.
The service provider is claiming that the ANC owes it R26.5m for the membership system agreement and R6m for the agreement on their websites.