ac.za provides a distinctive Internet domain name space for use by higher education institutions, learned societies and associated research and support institutions that are domiciled in the Republic of South Africa. It is a moderated domain and is administered by the Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa under authority from the .za Domain Name Authority.
Institutions that satisfy the three Eligibility Criteria specified below may apply to register new sub-domains of ac.za.
1. Juristic person: The Institution is a juristic person domiciled in the Republic of South Africa;
2, Primary purpose: The Institution:
is EITHER a Higher Education Institution that is established, deemed to have been established or declared as a public higher education institution in terms of the Higher Education Act (no. 101 of 1997), as amended;
is registered as a private higher education institution in terms of the Higher Education Act (no. 101 of 1997), as amended;
while it is not a Higher Education institution, at least one of the following conditions applies to it:
it conducts scholarly research and places a reasonable proportion of the results in the public domain, as a primary purpose or core activity; OR
it provides direct, specialised support for higher education and/or scholarly research, as a primary purpose or core activity; OR
it is a national association, regional association or consortium of institutions, each of which meets at least one of the four criteria above; OR
it is a learned society.
The Administrator may require applicants to submit certified copies of the Institution's Certificate of Registration, Articles of Association, Constitution or other documentation of the Organisation's status and/or purpose.
3. Domain Name Service: The Institution is willing and able to provide the Domain Name Service for the sub-domain in accordance with established Internet practice. An Internet Service Provider or other third party may provide the Domain Name Service for the sub-domain on behalf of the Institution. Before registering a new sub-domain the Administrator will test the efficacy of the Domain Name Service that has been set up for it.
These eligibility criteria have been applied since 23 July 2001, but were not necessarily applied when domain names were registered before that date. Some background to the formulation of these eligibility criteria is contained in the article "Who should be eligible to hold ac.za domain names?"
Applications for the creation of a new sub-domain name should be made directly to TENET by the Principal, Registrar, Director of Public Affairs, Director of Information Technology or other officer who represents the entire Institution as a juristic person, and who will serve as the Administrative Contact Person for the Institution in respect of all sub domains that it holds. Applications will not be considered that are made directly by faculties, departments or other units that are not juristic persons in their own right, or by Internet Service Providers or other agents on behalf of the Institution.
The whois service
In accordance with established Internet practice, TENET operates a whois Service for the ac.za domain, the purpose of which is to make the contact details of all Domain Name Holders readily available at any time to any interested party. The Registrant undertakes to review the Contact Details as published in the whois Service, to alter and/or augment them as may be necessary to ensure that they remain true and accurate for the duration of the period within which the Domain Name is in use. Registrants are required to authorise TENET to publish the Registrant's Contact Details, as recorded in the Whois database, and to make these Contact Details available to any third party through the whois Service or by any other means.
Rules concerning the choice of new sub-domain names
The sub-domain name must reflect the identity of the institution, but must not be a name that is generic or in common use (e.g. names such as college.ac.za, gauteng.ac.za, education.ac.za and the like will not be accepted).
The Applicant for a new sub-domain name is solely responsible for the choice of the domain name, and is required certify that the proposed name does not infringe existing trademarks, copyrights or intellectual property rights of other parties. Registrants are required to indemnify TENET and the Administrator from any liability or damages arising from the choice of the domain name.
The name must not, in TENET's opinion, present a substantial risk of confusion with similar sub-domain names or other institutions already registered under .ac.za.
A name may not be one that is currently a second level domain name under the .za domain (e.g. org, co, net and the like), nor a top level domain name in the DNS (e.g. com, edu, uk, za and the like).