GovChat founder and chief executive Eldrid Jordaan brought the urgent application for interim relief to the tribunal against Facebook. Picture: Phil Noble/Reuters
GovChat founder and chief executive Eldrid Jordaan brought the urgent application for interim relief to the tribunal against Facebook. Picture: Phil Noble/Reuters

Tribunal hears GovChat complaint about WhatsApp

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published Jan 19, 2021

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Cape Town - The hearing between the government’s citizen engagement platform on WhatsApp, GovChat, and #LetsTalk against Facebook at the Competition Tribunal was heard on Monday.

GovChat founder and chief executive Eldrid Jordaan brought the urgent application for interim relief to the tribunal against Facebook. The interim relief would prevent Facebook from removing the communicative messaging function from its WhatsApp platform.

GovChat operates via the WhatsApp platform which is owned and controlled by Facebook.

The application was filed during an urgent hearing of the tribunal last week. The case is currently still pending.

The application for interim relief follows a disagreement with Facebook over an alleged violation of the contractual terms of use.

Jerome Wilson from the Legal Practice Council said what GovChat has sought to do is to act as an intermediary between the government and the public, and would act as a gateway through which citizens access government through WhatsApp.

Both parties had previously intended to come to an agreement. However, this did not come to fruition, said Wilson.

The service was founded in 2016 and officially launched in 2018.

GovChat allowed citizens to obtain information on the Covid-19 pandemic from reliable governmental sources and departments.

Cape Argus

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