SA’s domain names hit 1.25m milestone

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 12 Jun 2020
Lucky Masilela, CEO of ZACR.
Lucky Masilela, CEO of ZACR.

There are now over 1.25 million individual domain names registered within South Africa’s flagship Internet domain, according to the ZA Central Registry (ZACR).

The administrator of SA's .za domain name says new domain name registrations by SMMEs in particular have picked up significantly since late March with many new registrations since the introduction of the lockdown period.

Local small business owners have in recent months placed huge emphasis on digital presence, as consumers increasingly turn to online services during the lockdown period.

ZACR is the administrator of South Africa’s presence on the Worldwide Web, which includes,, and, as well as three SA cities’ geographic Top Level Domains (TLD): .joburg (dotJoburg), .capetown (dotCapeTown) and .durban (dotDurban').

“It speaks volumes that has surpassed the 1.25 million mark during the current lockdown – anecdotal evidence suggests South Africans are increasingly snapping up domains to help them launch businesses, pursue creative and study endeavours, secure their digital identities and generally become much more active online,” says Lucky Masilela, ZACR CEO.

In April ZACR suspended the deletions process of domain names that are not in good standing with their annual renewal fees for the duration of the coronavirus-related lockdown in SA.

This was to enable the sharing of critical online information and to enable learners to continue studying from home while schools remain closed.

The second-level domain now accounts for just over 95% of all domain name registrations within the .ZA country code TLD, notes the company.

ZACR says the local domain industry is today the benchmark for the African Continent and, as such, is providing a greater domain name choice after the registry operator secured the rights to .joburg, .capetown, .durban and .africa.

Masilela attributes SA’s growing domain name sector to key decisions taken during the tenure of the late communications minister, Dr Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri when she spearheaded the adoption of the “Triple R” domain name management model.

The Triple R approach is based on a clear separation of roles and responsibilities according to Registry / Registrar / Regulator in the local domain name space.

Various forms of Registrars now include an Authority, a Registry Operator and channel partners.

The above ultimately led to the establishment in 2012 of the ZACR as the Central Registry envisaged by the late minister, which is responsible for the management, growth and technical wellbeing of SA’s presence on the Worldwide Web.

“Our current model championed by the late minister is one of the reasons SA boasts the highest number of domain name registrations coupled with the lowest domain name operating and registration costs on the continent, even within the current framework of an inflationary-based wholesale fee adjustment request,” adds Masilela.

Significant benefits have already been unlocked by using a local player and home-grown technology to establish an SA-based Central Registry.

The registry operator says it intends taking to even greater heights and it has secured the rights to manage (‘dotAfrica’) TLD for the benefit of the African community.