A number of years ago one had to pay thousands in order to own a website. However, since the advent of open-source software, owning a website has become very affordable. Many individuals and businesses frequently create free websites online in a matter of hours. These days a price of R4 000 for a website is considered to be above the odds. That is why many people were surprised to hear that the Free State’s government had its website designed for R140 million.
It is unclear if research was done to find out if there were companies that could create the website at a lower price. A technician from Innovation Habit said he could have created the Free’s State’s website in less than a day and charge far less than R140 million. “R140 million is crazy. This is broad daylight fraud. I could create a website similar to that of the Free State’s government in an hour or two and ask R2000 or less. The people who created the website did very little work. The theme they used for the website was designed by another company at a very low price. So, all they had to do was setup the website, which can be done easily by almost anyone”, he said.
When the news of the Free State’s website surfaced, it raised a lot of controversy. The public felt that what the Free State government did was abuse of state funds. The DA asked the auditor general to investigate this scandal, which has been termed the “Infogate”. On Monday it was confirmed that the public protector Thuli Madonsela would be doing an investigation to find out if the ethics code was followed in the awarding of the contract to build the Free State government’s website.