ZADNA, the ccTLD manager for South Africa has requested public comment on a proposal to raise the wholesale price for .co.za from 45 to 55 ZAR, an increase of roughly 0.6 USD.

For .za, the ccTLD manager and registry operator are two separate organizations.  The ccTLD is delegated to ZADNA, which serves as “statutory regulator.”  ZADNA licenses registries for different second-level domains, among which .co.za is the most common.  The license to operate .co.za (among others) is held by another South African non-profit, called ZACR.

Pricing is controlled by ZADNA on two fronts:  They decide the price that ZACR must pay for each .co.za domain and also determine the price at which ZACR sells to its registrars.  This model has created conflict between the two organizations on at least one occasion:  In 2016, ZACR requested arbitration when ZADNA increased its fee without allowing for a higher price to be charged to registrars.

There is no such conflict this time around.  A few weeks after ZADNA put out the call for comment, ZACR released a statement in favor of the increase.

The call for comment is impartial and presents three options with regards to the wholesale price for .co.za:  Increase, decrease and keep the same.  However, the local tech news outlet MyBroadband makes a compelling case that the increase is likely.  Their reasoning:

— When ZACR entered into arbitration with ZADNA, the wholesale price was frozen while the matter was under review

— ZACR lost the arbitration and the price increase was applied retroactively, leaving the organization with a debt to ZADNA

— A price increase for registrars with no corresponding increase to cost is the logical move for ZADNA to take to assist ZACR in resolving this debt.

The window for public comment on proposed changes to wholesale pricing ends on June 30.  Any changes that ZADNA decides to make would logically not go into effect immediately, so we’re still looking at a fairly long time before registrars would start paying higher prices.

In cases like these, Toweb makes every effort to absorb reigstry price increases without raising clients’ pricing.  Unless that proves impossible, customers currently managing .co.za domains with us will not receive any notice about changes in conditions for this TLD and everything will continue as before.

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