The ZA Domain Name Authority (ZADNA) and UniForum SA, signed the .ZA Central Registry Operator Agreement in Joburg earlier this week, which is the culmination of several years of research and is intended to transform the .za name space into a world-class, innovative and standards-driven domain name registry.
The establishment of the .ZA Central Registry, which will include the administration of the well-known .co.za and .org.za domain names, will confirm South Africa's role as a leader in the Internet space in Africa and a significant contributor in the global DNS (Domain Name System, a critical Internet infrastructure). The process will also have other second-level domains, such as .net.za and .web.za included within the ambit of the ZACR.
Additional benefits that will also be unlocked by this process have already started materialising in that pretty soon South Africans will have more naming options to choose from, including top-level domains for the major South African cities, such as Joburg (.joburg), Cape Town (.capetown) and Durban (.durban); and a continental top-level domain (.africa) that is destined to reshape Africa's role on the Internet.
The concept of a central registry was first raised by the late Minister of Communications, Dr Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, in a parliamentary announcement in 2007 following recommendations proposed by the ZADNA and, which has now culminated in the signing of the Registry Operator Agreement with UniForum SA.Better governance and administration
According to Dr Hasmukh Gajjar, chairman of ZADNA: "The establishment of the central registry, managed by the ZACR, will ensure better governance and administration of the .za domain name space. We'd like to ensure the success of the .co.za domain name space, with over 850 000 registrations, is replicated across all the other .za properties.
"The central registry enhances ZADNA's regulatory ability, because it allows ZADNA to interface with a single player," added Dr Gajjar.
Llewelyn Jones, ZACR chairman, said that the selection of UniForum SA as the ZACR was a vindication of the organisation's earlier decision to invest in the development of the .co.za registry. "Our locally developed technology will assist ZADNA in its goal of establishing .za as a globally competitive world-class name space."