Service Provider Shut Down ANC Website For R32.5m Debt

ANC members implicated in the VBS saga have been asked to step aside from all party's activities. PICTURE: Mail & Guardian

JOHANNESBURG: A service provider that hosts and manages the back-end ongoings of the ANC website has shut down the ruling party’s page.

The claim is that the party that is led by President Cyril Ramaphosa has not been able to pay for their services. Thus, it has accumulated R32.5-million in debt.

The ANC has been given two weeks to pay the amount in full. If not, the service provider has threatened to take legal action against the party.

Many ANC supporters who rely on the website’s content to stay up to date with current affairs and campaign events may have hit a snag, trying to load the page this past week.

According to reports on Business Day, this was what the attorneys who represent Unwembi Communications had advised the service provider to do – shut it down and don’t boot anything until full payment has been received.

Pule Mabe, the ANC’s spokesperson, reacting to the news, did not share the same information regarding the website’s issues.

He did not seem to be aware of any ongoing quarrels with Unwembi Communications. According to Mabe, “I don’t know what hogwash that is, we don’t owe anyone R32-million. The only reason why our website is down is because we are revamping it… It has nothing to do with us not paying people”.

This is not what was stated in a letter that was sent by Gert van der Merwe, Unwembi’s attorneys, to the ANC’s CFO, Bongani Mahlalela.

The letter reveals that the two parties — ANC and Unwembi — concluded certain agreements. However, the most relevant in this matter is the umbrella project organisation agreement, the ANC membership system agreement as well as the hosting and support of the party’s website.

In the letter, it is stated that the party owes Unwembi R26.5-million for the membership system agreement and R6-million for the overarching agreements on the running of their website. Unwembi also demands R467 412 in damages following an alleged breach in the agreement.