Would you pay a web development company R40m [$4.41m] to create a website for you? Surely not!
That’s what the Free State Provincial Government [which is led by the African National Congress] in South Africa, forked out to a web development agency which strangely does not even have their own website. Actually the amount is in dispute, with the Provincial government claiming it was R40m while the newspaper that leaked the story reported an astounding R140m.
But that’s not all. It appears that the designers used a WordPress theme called London Live, to create the website which goes for $40, or at the latest exchange rate, around 362 South African Rands. [Read one such report here].
That makes London Live, the most expensive template ever designed… or there are some serious shenanigans at work here. If you consider that WordPress themes are really easy to use and one need not be an expert at using a CMS to make design changes, it would take an experienced web designer a few days or less to create a really stunning site. So either the design agency has pulled off the mother of all web-design con jobs, or there’s some sort of fraud involved here.
With the ANC having a well-known history of fraud and corruption up to the highest levels in government, I’m going with MASSIVE FRAUD.
Update, 13 March 2013:
The woman who handed out this ludicrous tender to the design agency, a Director-General at the time, has been promoted by the Provincial Premier to Minister of Finance. Now don’t this beat all?