The .ZA Domain Name Authority (ZADNA) announced on Tuesday that it would issue a tender for the technical administration of South Africa’s .ZA Internet domain namespace.
This follows news that ZADNA had terminated its agreement with the ZA Central Registry (ZACR), with the contract between the two organisations ending on 1 April 2022.
“ZADNA and ZACR entered into the agreement in April 2012, and the end of its term is on 01 April 2022,” ZADNA’s chief executive Molehe Wesi said in a statement.
“ZADNA expressed its intention to terminate the agreement through a letter that was served to ZACR on 19 July 2021.”
Wesi said stipulated in their Registry Operator Agreement (ROA) is that ZADNA must inform ZACR of its intention to terminate the agreement six months before the expiry date.
If not, the agreement is extended for another five years automatically.
“To clarify the position of ZADNA and to allay fear, ZADNA has no intention of taking over the technical operations of the .ZA namespace,” Wesi stated.
ZADNA’s reassurances follow concerns over what will happen to the technical administration of South Africa’s .ZA top-level domain and the second-level domains (SLDs) that fall under it, such as co.za and org.za.
Concerns have also been raised regarding the aggressive deadlines ZADNA has committed itself to.
It has just over eight months to establish a licensing framework to replace its agreement with the ZACR.
The relationship between ZADNA and the ZACR has been strained, according to industry sources who spoke to MyBroadband on condition of anonymity.
Beyond a recent dispute between the organisations over pricing, which took three years to resolve, MyBroadband was told that ZADNA was looking for alternative registry services providers several years ago.
However, Wesi told MyBroadband there is no fight.
“I want to reassure you and our stakeholders that there is no fight over the namespace as the namespace belongs to all South Africans,” he said.
Wesi said that the next step is to issue a Request for Information that will be open for an appropriate period.
“Once the information has been received from the interested parties and assessed, the Authority will then issue a Request for Proposals for eligible Registry Operators to submit their proposals to offer registry services.”