In April this year the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) launched an online facility for parents to register their children for admissions in the following school year.
After a few stops and starts, the online website was positioned to be the only way in which children could be registered, but now an IT entrepreneur has claimed that the Department stole the idea from her.
According to Eyewitness News, entrepreneur Melissa Laing said that she presented the idea of an online admissions website to the GDE more than a year ago.
Laing has served the Department and Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi with legal papers on Friday, claiming it was her idea.
Speaking to EWN, she detailed how she came up with the idea and how it was pitched to the Department, but was shot down by its IT Director.
She said that she was searching for a school online in 2012, and presented her plan to the Department in October of that year.
“The IT director said it was a stupid idea and that they would never use in it the department. Everything is the same. So we found some other indicators that this is in fact our idea,” she said.
Detailing her encounters with the Department, Laing said that she tried on numerous occasions afterwards to meet with the Department – without any luck. She added that she eventually met with a representative of the Department, and was told “she should resort to legal action.”
The Department in the meantime has responded to the claims, saying it did not copy Laing’s idea and that it used the South African schools and administration management information system to build its website.
What does Laing ultimately want? Well, she wants the registration website to be shut down until the Department can prove that it didn’t steal her idea.
“I was shocked because I couldn’t understand what was happening. It was almost as if my wind was taken out of me. We would like them to come with proof that this is their idea,” she told EWN.
In April, ten minutes after the website went live it saw 5 000 successful registrations and was able to handle up to 20 000 visitors per second.[Via – Eyewitness News]