Ms D Tsotetsi (ANC) was nominated as the Acting Chairperson.
ZA Domain Name Authority (ZADNA) presented its Annual Report for 2015/16 to the Committee, taking the Members through the main highlights of that report. The first section explained the meetings that had been held by the Authority. It was explained that this was a non-profit organisation, which aimed to implement ZADNA and .ZA awareness through events and outreach. It had held ten events across Gauteng, Western Cape, Free State and KwaZulu Natal. The representatives took Members through the targets, explaining which had and which had not been achieved. The implementation of dot cities engagement was not achieved and implementation is stalled pending clarification of ZADNA’s dot cities role. The establishment of Second Level Domain (SLD) diversity was not achieved and in this case implementation was deferred pending further assessment. Finalisation of SLD charters and implementation of SLD general policy was achieved, and so was the proposed amendment to Alternative Dispute Resolution. Other completed targets included the enhancement of internal controls, the review of board committee charters, the approved delegation of authority, approved amendments to financial and procurement policies and procedures and additional drafting of additional internal policies. Regular collection of revenue was achieved. There was ongoing internet governance dialogue and collaboration with relevant entities, with iweek 2015 and the SA Internet Governance Forum 2015. Active participation in relevant forums was also achieved. Targets that were not achieved included management of .ZA zone file by ZADNA, to the level anticipated, and the Namespace -wide data protection policy. The organisation had a retained surplus of R10.5 million largely due to posts not being filled and programmes not run as explained. There was a small staff but ZADNA would hire in technical skills where necessary.
Members asked for more detail on the surplus, and questioned some of the programmes listed in the Annual Report. They also questioned the staff figures, the salary bill and the progress in filling posts. They asked about the current fee, the role that ZADNA played in other bodies and its international trips. They asked how it managed its costs, the timelines for filling posts, and any retention strategies. Members also asked the real impact of its work in communities and urged it to become more focused on and involve rural communities in its work, and asked how it chose the provinces for events. They also queried some of the financial figures.
Members nominated Ms D Tsotetsi (ANC) as Acting Chairperson.
ZA Domain Name Authority (ZADNA) Annual Report 2015/16 briefing
Ms Motlatjo Ralefatane, Chairperson, ZA Domain Name Authority, said the organisation had achieved what was expected of it over the last financial year and was pleased to present to the Committee.
Mr Vika Mpisane, Chief Executive Officer, ZADNA, said the organisation has had five ordinary board meetings, four special board meetings (including a director induction workshop), six finance, audit and risk committee meetings, ten management committee meetings and two Techcom meetings in the last year.
The Board of the organisation had also approved several internal controls, which included:
- Delegation of authority
- Amendments to procurement policy and procedures
- Amendments to financial policies and procedures and
- Amendments to travel and subsistence schedule
The Board had also finalised its review of the Board Committee charters, including Farco, Manco and Techcom. There have also been seven approved staff positions, of which three were filled and one was temporarily filled.
For the period up to 31 March 2016, ZA Central registry (ZACR) registrar accredited 429 domain names, of which 54 are in testing, 251 are in application and 63 are registrars under Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
He noted that the organisation had implemented ZADNA and .ZA awareness through ten events held across Gauteng, Western Cape, Free State and KZN.
The implementation of dot cities engagement was not achieved because implementation is stalled pending clarification of ZADNA’s role in relation to dot cities. Similarly, the establishment of Second Level Domain (SLD) diversity was not achieved and implementation was deferred pending further assessment.
Finalisation of SLD charters was achieved, and so was the implementation of SLD general policy was achieved.
The proposed amendment to Alternative Dispute Resolution was achieved.
Other completed targets included the enhancement of internal controls, the review of board committee charters, the approved delegation of authority, approved amendments to financial and procurement policies and procedures and additional drafting of additional internal policies. Regular collection of revenue was achieved.
Ongoing internet governance dialogue achieved. Collaboration with relevant entities was achieved – with iweek 2015 and the SA Internet Governance Forum 2015. Active participation in relevant forums was also achieved, as the entity participated in ICANN, Africa Top Level Domains (AfTLD) and the National ICT Forum.
Targets that were not achieved included management of .ZA zone file by ZADNA, to the level anticipated. Namespace -wide data protection policy was not achieved.
The financial figures were tabled (see attached presentation for full details) and the CEO explained that the organisation had a retained surplus of R10 558 212 as at 31 March 2016.
Substantial progress was achieved with a limited work force. However the limited internal technical capacity resulted in dependence on service providers.
Mr C Mackenzie (DA) asked if it is possible for the surplus to be returned to shareholders. He asked what programmes specifically were being referred to in selected pages of the Annual Report. He wanted to know the current salary bill.
Ms M Shinn (DA) asked that the organisation should carefully preview its Annual Report before submission, to avoid mistakes and cited those in the Chairperson’s foreword. She asked what “teams” are being referred to in page 5 of the Annual Report? What is the fee for the domain name now? How significant was the role of ZADNA in ICANN and how long had ZADNA been involved with ICANN.
Ms N Ndongeni (ANC) asked if the entity had been innovative in managing cost and improving its performance, and wanted to know what steps have been taken in this regard? She wondered if there was any scope for increased efficiency leading to further cost savings? How has .ZA performed in ensuring that good relationships with stakeholders were maintained?
A co-opted Member of the Committee asked for more details and the status of the temporarily filled position. What is the timeline for the filling the vacant position? To what extent are the , difficulties and challenges attributed to the limited work force. What, if any, was the retention strategy?
Another co-opted Member asked when the vacancies will be filled. What is the real impact of the events on the community?
Ms D Ranto (ANC), another co-opted Member, asked questions around the target for building the internal staff capacity, which was said to have been achieved. She wondered whether ZADNA still needed to have workshops to build capacity, or whether this had been completed? She also asked about the budget, wondering whether the budget was excessive, given that there was such a large retained surplus.
The Acting Chairperson of the Committee asked what was the standard practice or policy for holding and attending meetings. What was the criteria for choosing the provinces that were covered during the events? What was the main risk in ZADNA not achieving some targets? She commented that rural communities should be targeted in programmes.
Ms Ralefatane responded that the current staff team consisted of three people only, and it was those three who had effectively been driving ZADNA. However, as stated by the CEO, where this became necessary, ZADNA could outsource. She asserted that better proofreading would be done in future before the reports are submitted, and she apologised for the errors.
Ms Ralefatane explained what happened in relation to the fee increase and emphasised that it was not ZADNA who had asked for the increase of R12. Since the inception of the domain name operating agreement between ZADNA and ZACR, it had been agreed that the cost should be R7 per domain name. Since then it had never been increased. ZADNA proposed that the increase should perhaps be around R6 of R7 but after further consultation it was suggested that the additional cost would be R5, making the total cost R12.
Ms Shinn asked if the R5 increase had yet been approved and Ms Ralefatane confirmed that it had not.
Ms Ralefatane continued that ZADNA is a member based organisation. It holds an AGM annually and the stakeholders attend and assist, and ZADNA also report to its stakeholders. ZADNA is a section 21 company. It complies with the Companies Act. It is a membership organisation and everyone is free to join.
Answering the questions on staffing she noted that ZADNA was currently in the final stage of filling the vacant positions. Interviews had been done, so that people would now simply need to start working. The progress would be seen in the report for the next financial year.
She noted, in relation to the financial figures, that the organisation gets revenue from registry fees and is not allocated amounts by Treasury. However, it was the delay in appointments that had meant that it had not spent all its budget and this had then led to the surplus.
Mr Mpisane said that the programme that Mr Mackenzie had referred to was the work programme. The salary bill estimate is R5 million. Four targets were not achieved, and the one that was the most important was that around the alternative dispute resolution process. He noted, however, that the work that ZADNA does is essentially work of oversight. He noted that the organisation is already cost-effective.
The appointed persons will be starting work in November 2016. The process of benchmarking had delayed their appointment. The internal capacity building was done internally to rotate the staff internally. As far as the Board is concerned, there were generally quarterly meetings held.
He referred Members to pages 46 to 48 of the Annual Report which explained the impact of the events. When choosing which areas to use for events, the organisation looked at the target audience.
The target of data protection policy that was not achieved related only to the namespace. It was just to assess the global space and see how other countries were handling the issue of namespace from the policy perspective. The organisation found out there was no pressing need to come up with any policy.
Ms Ralefatane said there was risk assessment done around service delivery in terms of the goals.
Ms Shinn asked how many seats ZADNA held, as referred to on page 67. She also asked for an explanation of the following figures:
- How many persons went on the six international trips
- The VAT on pages 66 and 20
- To whom was the reimbursement as referred to on page 20 paid and what was this for?
- What are the professional fees?
The Acting Chairperson asked when the .ZA zone file will be published. What was the cost of the international trips?
Mr Mpisane responded on the number of seats held but his reply was inaudible. He himself had attended the trips. The publishing would be done anytime from now. The organisation had the assumption that it would not pay tax, but it did have to pay VAT. Professional fees were the fees paid to a lawyer service provider who had assisted with drafting contracts.
Mr Nicholas Msibi, Treasurer, ZADNA, noted that the reimbursement related to board fees.
The Acting Chairperson thanked the organisation for the presentation and urged it to reach out to rural communities in its programmes and awareness campaigns.
The meeting was adjourned.
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