SECURING OUR ONLINE IDENTITY

.ZA Domain Name Authority (ZADNA) is a statutory regulator and manager of the .ZA namespace

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.ZA Domain Name Authority (ZADNA) is a statutory regulator and manager of the .ZA namespace - the internet country code top-level domain for South Africa. ZADNA is mandated by the Electronic Communications and Transaction (ECT) Act of 2002 to manage and regulate the .ZA namespace. As the authority, their role includes enhancing public awareness on the economic and commercial benefits of domain name registration and deriving policies for the namespace.

ŸZA is South Africa’s online identity. A .ZA domain name registration contributes to the country’s economy, particularly unlocking the potential of local SMEs in the domain name registration business, to

accelerate the creation of new players within the Internet Service Provider Industry.

BBQ Magazine sat with the Acting CEO of ZADNA, Peter Madavhu who elaborated on their mandate, some of the challenges they face together with his daily responsibilities, and the partnerships that help ensure their organisation reaches its set goals within the Domain Name Industry.

What are the key benefits of a country code extension like .ZA?

.ZA online presence is a South African online identity. Everybody recognizes you’re South African and have some presence in South Africa, unlike none South African domain name that cannot readily tell the world where you are in the online world.

A .ZA domain name registration contributes to the South African economy. Our .ZA Registrar Reseller program intend to unlock the economic potential of local SMEs in the domain name registration business, accelerating the creation of new players within the Internet Service Provider (ISP) industry.

Can you please take us through the role that the Acting CEO plays and expand on his daily responsibilities in ensuring employees successfully execute the organisation’s mandate?

The .ZA domain namespace strives to be a safe, resilient and robust namespace that complies with the international best practice.

My responsibilities include the following: Leading ZADNA’s corporate strategy and providing strategic leadership, overseeing ZADNA’s fiscal activity including budgeting, reporting, auditing and Risk Management associated with the general management of the organisation.

Supporting the Board in its governance responsibilities, supporting the team in developing a strong performance culture and promoting the values of ZADNA, (through personal behavior and recognition of others) and leading ZADNA’s corporate strategy implementation.

How do your partnerships ensure you achieve your set goal within the Domain Name Industry?

The identified strategic partnerships assist ZADNA in ensuring that it achieves its statutory mandate as well as the organisational strategic goals and objectives i.e. drive service innovation. To this effect, ZADNA has partnered with other SOEs with the intent of ensuring effective stakeholder collaboration whilst providing sustainable solutions in alignment with our mandate.

The partnerships further assist in ensuring that ZADNA continually surveys and evaluates the extent to which the .ZA domain namespace meet the needs of the citizens of the republic. In addition, the partnerships with relevant role players i.e. registry, registrars and so forth allow ZADNA to enhance public awareness on the economic and commercial benefit of .ZA domain name registration.

What is the greatest challenge your organisation faces with regards to regulating, implementing and managing the .ZA domain namespace?

Firstly the decline on the domain name growth in our country and globally, caused by the new international players in our market such as new gTLD. Then the abuse of online presence tools is rapidly growing and there is an increase of .ZA domain names that are abusive. Some of these abusive .ZA domain names are registered with an intention to conduct fraud and/or mislead the Internet user.

In addition, in recent months there has been a great number of circulations of fake news in South Africa originating from some of the .ZA domain names.

It is our responsibility to ensure that registered .ZA domain names do not violate any individual’s human rights, do not pose a threat to a particular brand’s image or reputation, and to combat online crimes that are conducted through .ZA second level domains (SLDs).

What are the key functions of ZADNA’s policies?

The key functions of ZADNA’s policies are to give effect to Chapter X of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act of 2002. The implemented policies serve as guidelines on the general administration of the .ZA domain namespace, the requirements and procedures for .ZA domain name registration.. The authority follows an inclusion policy development process which includes stakeholder consultation.

Please explain Domain Dispute and elaborate on the functions and characteristics of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?

.ZA has a proven alternative dispute resolution (ADR) against cyber-squatting and intellectual property abuse in co.za, net.za, org.za and web.za domains.

In terms of the regulations a complainant can lodge a complaint against a domain name registrant (domain name holder) in an instance where the complainant is of the view that the domain name is abusive or offensive. Such dispute may be lodged through a ZADNA accredited ADR Service Provider.

The ADR process was established with the intent of creating an alternative to the courts at a potential lesser fee. The parties also have an option between a single adjudicator and three adjudicators at a cost of R10 000 for a single adjudicator and R24 000 for three (3) adjudicators. The ADR process has been found to be expeditious and cost-effective.

The amended ADR Regulations also provide for mediation which is facilitated by ZADNA. The ADR Provider is required to refer the matter to ZADNA once both parties have responded in an attempt to resolve the matter prior to adjudication. Whilst the mediation process is still relatively new, it has been found to yield fruits in terms of engagements and possible resolution. To date, ZADNA has facilitated four successful mediations.

What projects is ZADNA currently involved in?

The .ZA second level registration (i.e .peter.za), which is still to be finalised. Then the registrar reseller programme. A program that is aimed at the black community to assist them to become registrars and resellers of domain names in the .ZA namespace, (historically disadvantage group). We will continue to fulfill our mandate as prescribed by the Act and to find tactical ways to promote the use of .ZA.

Peter Madavhu, Acting CEO

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