Proposed new rules for South Africa’s Internet domains

The .ZA Domain Name Authority (ZADNA) has published draft regulations for South Africa’s registry operators and registrars that offer .ZA domains.

Registry operators manage domain name registrations and provide services needed for those domains to work.

This includes a database (Whois) that helps translate a domain into an Internet Protocol address.

A registry’s Whois database points to Domain Name System servers that may be queried to look up addresses associated with a domain.

Registrars are the organisations that help users buy and configure their domains.

If you wanted to set up a website on a .co.za domain, you would go to one of South Africa’s many hosting companies, which also offer registrar services.

Those hosting companies register your domain with the ZA Central Registry, which ZADNA contracts to act as South Africa’s registry operator for the co.za, org.za, net.za, and web.za namespaces.

ZADNA’s proposed regulations will govern these various entities in South Africa’s domain name ecosystem.

Among the proposals in the regulations are:

  • Registrars must collect and store identity documents, physical addresses, and contact information of people wishing to register .ZA domains
  • Licence and registrar fees payable via the registry — yet to be determined
  • Registrars must apply for a licence, which will be valid for 10 years
  • If non-commercial registrars stop operating, they must provide customer registration data to ZADNA
  • Registrars must provide broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) information with their licence application — specifically details of BEE ownership.

Public comments for these regulations are open until 6 June 2022.

“ZADNA will invite members to a members-only engagement session to deliberate on these regulations,” ZADNA CEO Molehe Wesi said in a notice to members in the early hours of Friday morning.

“The engagement session will allow members to seek clarity and address their concerns about the draft regulations. The proposed members’ engagement will be communicated in due course.”


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Proposed new rules for South Africa’s Internet domains