Attention all South African website owners and operators. Government regulations, published on Thursday, appear to require all websites that end in “.za” to link to the department of health’s Covid-19 portal.
The regulations, published in the Government Gazette by communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams are, however, likely to lead to confusion.
Clause 5.1.4 of the regulations, which have been issued in terms of the Disaster Management Act, state: “All Internet sites operating within the .zaDNA top-level domain must have a landing page with a visible link to www.sacoronavirus.co.za.”
The confusion is likely to come in over what the regulations mean by “.zaDNA”. .ZADNA is the abbreviation — it’s short for the .za Domain Name Authority — for the government regulator responsible for the .za namespace.
It’s likely — almost certain, in fact — that the regulations mean that all websites in the .za namespace are expected to provide a link to the Covid-19 portal. TechCentral has asked the ministry of communications for clarity and will update this article once feedback is received.
Hundreds of thousands of websites
Achieving this requirement of regulations and enforcing it is likely to prove difficult — there are well over 1.2 million domains registered under “.co.za”, the commercial domain in the .za domain space. Those domains are used to power hundreds of thousands of active websites, many of them owned by micro enterprises and individuals.
With many companies closed for the government’s 21-day lockdown, employees are either working from home or not working at all, so ensuring all these websites are updated is likely going to be impossible. — (c) 2020 NewsCentral Media