On 11 December 2015, shortly before the holiday season began, the Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services published an amendment to the Alternative Dispute Resolution Regulations (“the regulations”) in the Government Gazette.

The amendment states that Internet domain names registered in the .co.za, .net.za, .web.za and .org.za are open to alternative dispute resolution under the regulations.

The alternative dispute resolution procedure under the regulations provides an aggrieved party with the option to lodge a complaint against the registrant of a domain name if the domain name is “offensive” or “abusive”. Under the regulations, a domain name may be abusive if, for example, it takes unfair advantage of another party’s rights (including a registered trade mark right).

Previously, the alternative dispute resolution procedure was open to .co.za domain names only. Therefore, the extension of the procedure to .net.za, .web.za and .org.za domain names is welcomed.