South Africa: Government's Communications Department Is Breaking Its Own Law. but Don't Panic

opinion

It's a mix-up of note, partly funny but also not. Here are the oddities, complications and haphazard implementations of the lockdown laws as they apply to websites.

By now, your website should have a link to the Covid-19 Corona Virus South African Resource Portal. If not, you're breaking the law. This is according to the Department of Communications (DOC), which gazetted this law on Lockdown Thursday.

Its own website sports no such link.

But don't fret about it, because there's no punishment for lawbreakers.

Section 5.1.4 of freshly gazetted directions issued by the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) requires that: "All internet sites operating within the .zaDNA top-level domain name must have a landing page with a visible link to www.sacoronavirus.co.za."

Before decoding this sentence, we had a look at the Covid-19 Corona Virus Portal itself. The site is a worthy effort at collecting stats and carrying important information about the pandemic. Our critique of poor communication and hazy understanding of the way the web works should not detract from this.

Decades of experience in matters web means we can understand the directive. But nothing in our experience can help us understand what the DOC's intent was.

It's...

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