Yesterday news broke of the R140 million that was reportedly spend on the website of the Free State provincial government.
First reported by the The Sowetan newspaper, the amount was soon disputed by Free State director general Elzabe Rockman who revealed that the figure was closer to R40 million. Still, this is an exorbitant amount of money to spend on a website and you don’t have to know much about web development to realise this.
It has also come to light that the website is WordPress-based rather than custom built, with the theme costing a mere $40.
The tender was awarded by the Free State Province for the “Redesign/Relaunch of a comprehensive and integrated website” to the “Cherry Ikamva-Jugganaut Joint Venture”.
In an interview with 567 Cape Talk yesterday, Arthur Goldstuck, CEO of World Wide Worx commented that not even the most secure and complex of corporate or banking websites in South Africa would come at such a cost.
Now, Gadget has published Goldstuck’s break down of South Africa’s most expensive website:
Phase one: For “planning, conceptualization, research & information development”, allocates the following funds for financial year 2011/12:
“R350 000 per site for departments and Metro; R300 000 per site for larger Local Municipalities; R200 000 per site for Entities and District Municipalities; R150 000 per site for other Local Municipalities”.
The Free State Provincial Government comprises 11 departments, including the Office of the Premier. Along with the Metro, the first item therefore comprises 12 sites, for a total cost of R4 200 000.
The Free State province comprises 19 local municipalities, of which 6 could be described as “larger” (those that include the larger Free State towns, namely Kroonstad, Welkom Sasolburg, Parys, Harrismith and Bethlehem). The second item, based on this outline, comes to R1 800 000.
The province includes four “District Municipalities”, which are in effect umbrella bodies for the 19 local municipalities. The Entities refer to statutory bodies, of which there are four: Free State Tourism Authority, Free State Gambling and Liquor Board, Free State Development Corporation and Centlec, the local electricity authority in Bloemfontein. Based on these municipalities and entities, the third item amounts to R1 600 000.
A total of 13 “other Local Municipalities” are not included in the second line item, making for a cost, in the fourth item, of R1 950 000.
The total cost, then, of planning the Free State government website was R9 550 000.
Phase Two: For “Design”, also allocated to the 2011/12 financial year, included the same line items, with the same costing. In other words, the Design of the site/s cost exactly as much as the planning: a total of R9 550 000.
The allocation for Phase Three, the “Development and Creation” of the site/s, was R1 100 000.
Phase Four: For “Testing”, was open-ended, specifying “R900 per hour x 10 persons”. Assuming, very conservatively, that three 8-hour days were allocated for testing, this would have amounted to a relatively humble R216 000. No ceiling was placed on this amount, however, and it could be ten times as high.
Phase Five: For “Implementation”, which appeared to be something other than design, development, creation and testing, was given a budget of R413 600.
The total for the first five phases is R20 829 600, simply to get the site/s up and running.
Phase Six A: For Maintenance, and Six B, for “Content Generation and Management”, is a fascinating mix of hidden and unstated cost. Maintenance is costed at “R900 per hour x 2 persons”. It can safely be assumed that maintenance was allocated to budget as an ongoing function, i.e. 40-hours per week x 2 persons, amounting to R72 000 per week. Assuming the financial year ended in June, as it usually does for provinces, and a modest 12 weeks of maintenance was provided, the total would be R864 000.
Phase Six B: “Content Generation and Management” allows for “R75 000 per month per site x three months” in financial year 2011/12. The total number of sites, derived from the breakdown of Phase one, is no less than 39. For one month, the cost is R2 925 000. For the last three months of financial year 2011/12, the total cost was R8 775 000.
Assuming the project started in time for three months of content generation and management to be provided in the 2011/12 financial year, the total paid out in the four months after the tender was awarded would have been R30 468 600.
For financial year 2012, two phases are provided namely:
“Phase: Maintenance, including review and update of design: R900 per hours;
“Phase: Content Services, Generation and Management: R68 253 per month per site.”
Based on four weeks of maintenance per month, and assuming one person responsible, the cost of maintenance is R144 000 per month, or R1 728 000 per year. This assumes that it is not a per-site cost.
Content services, generation and management, on the other hand, is a per site service which, for 39 sites, amounts to R2 661 867 per month, or R31 942 404 for the 2012/13 financial year.
The total cost of the web site for 2012/13: R33 670 404.
The allocation for 2013/2014 is exactly the same as for 2012/13: R33 670 404.
This puts the total cost of the site over less than three years at R97 809 408.