The Sowetan newspaper initially reported that Rockman signed a three-year contract in 2011 for the redesign of the government website, but Rockman claims it was only ZAR40 million (US$4.4 million).
The contract was signed with Tumi Ntsele, a businessman who reportedly holds tenders with a number of other provincial departments.
Two other companies are reported to have submitted significantly lower bids, but the tender was awarded to Ntsele’s company regardless.
The website itself is reportedly powered by the free blogging platform Wordpress using the page theme “London Live Wordpress Theme”, which only costs US$40.
However, the website in question indicates that it is powered by Cherry Online Design.
Whether it was ZAR140 million or ZAR40 million, it is still the most expensive website in the country.
Etionee Bruwer, owner of Jam Factory, a website design company, told the Sowetan the amount charged for the redesign of the website was “ridiculous”.
He said the largest amount paid for a website is ZAR12 million (US$1.3 million) for financial institutions which need to protect information of a sensitive nature.
“The company that is working on that site is probably making ZAR3.5 million (US$384,965) profit a month,” said Bruwer.
Ntsele believes the amount charged for the website is fair and his reasoning for the outcry is that opposition parties have an agenda against black businessmen.
Patricia Kopane, the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) leader in the Free State, has since requested the auditor general to investigate “Premier Ace Magashule’s abuse of ZAR140 million” for the website.
Kopane called it “the most expensive website in the history of South Africa”.