A screen grab of the notification on the ANC's website.
A screen grab of the notification on the ANC's website.

The ANC, after denying that it had a contract with Unwembi Communications, which is responsible for developing and hosting the party’s website, has said it will make arrangements to pay the service provider.

This after Unwembi was instructed by its attorneys to withhold services until the money had been paid.

Unwembi is claiming that the ANC owes it R32.5m.

The ANC website has been down for almost two weeks. The site currently has a notice saying: “This website is suspended due to non-payment to the service provider.”

In a letter to Unwembi’s attorney Gert van der Merwe and seen by Business Day, Hogan Lovells for the ANC said the message left on the website was causing the party “unnecessary administrative hurdles” but also that the “damaging and defamatory message” was causing the ANC “unimaginable reputation harm”.

Hogan Lovells said Unwembi’s actions made any engagement process to find an amicable resolution untenable.

“Our client would in any event still be willing to engage with your client over what it believes it owes your client, of course, with a view to find each other and an amicable resolution to this matter,” Hogan Lovells’s partner SJ Thema said in the letter.

He said the ANC would “proceed to make arrangements to pay” Unwembi, but only the amounts which the party was liable for under the agreement with the company.

The ANC has asked for copies of all invoices. It also wants the domain name and website restored and for the message currently on the website to be removed.

This comes as the ANC is preparing to launch its new “revamped” website on Monday.

Last month, when Business Day contacted the ANC for comment on the money owed to Unwembi, spokesperson Pule Mabe said the website was down because it was being revamped and that a new service provider had been appointed.

He said it had nothing to do with the ANC owing anyone money.

Mabe at the time said the ANC did not have a contract with Unwembi.

Van der Merwe for Unwembi confirmed on Monday that he had received the letter from Hogan Lovells.

“I think the letter is designed to justify the so-called new website and I will respond to it properly within the course of the day,” he said.

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