The Leopard Cannot Change its Spots: the resuscitation of moribund dotafrica.org
July 26, 2011
Whilst all interested watchers were busy narrowing down the competition for the mandate for DotAfrica to DotConnecAfrica (DCA) and African Top Level Domains (AfTLD) organization, a new entrant recently emerged in the form of the African Registry Consortium (ARC) – an unregistered, yet to be established organization whose main mission, according to their web site is: “For the provision of a domain name registry solution to the African Top Level Domain Organization (aftld) for purposes of preparing, submitting, funding and promoting a successful bid to ICANN for the dotafrica.
The ARC would be owned by Domain Name Services (Pty) Ltd. (DNS) and Convergence Partners (Pty) Ltd.The latter company is owned by Mr. Andile Ngcaba who is also executive chairman of Dimension Data Holdings Plc. South Africa. Andile seems well connected to the South African government, business and BEE circles in that country. (See http://www.whoswhosa.co.za/andile-ngcaba-2240). In fact, the four (4) directors of DNS are also the four (4) directors of UniForum SA, the current administrator of the co.za TLD, one being a current director of AfriNic.
DCA strongly objects the involvement of the ARC consortium with dotAfrica based on the following 9 counts:
1. Not a World Class Registry solution for dotafrica
The African Registry Consortium (ARC) is actually very new and its promoters now appear like ‘opportunists’ who are hell-bent on taking advantage of the situation, since they have not campaigned in any way for DotAfrica. Most of the success they claim, if they can hold on tenuously to any such claim, is with respect to the presumed success of their affiliates on .co.za, and .za namespace. Whilst it is common knowledge that UniForum SA has largely proved to be an inefficient and incompetent registry operation with many dissatisfied customers; (see links at end of this article) and cannot boast a world-class registry solution which DotAfrica requires to be successful.
2. Potential BEE Scam
What is more profoundly worrying however, is that this prospective partnership between DNS and Convergence Investment Partners to create ARC, is most likely a Black Empowerment Scam operation that is probably employing Andile Ncgaba’s Covergence Investment Partners (Pty.) Ltd to give it questionable legitimacy. Therefore, it is clear that the partners who have entered into the ARC relationship are reckless opportunists who are perhaps using the ‘opportunity’ that DotAfrica represents to push through an opaque/fishy agenda that smells like a potential ‘Black Empowerment Scam‘.
(See for example, Danny Schetcher’s recent article “South Africa’s Cancer Of Corruption And ‘Culture Of Concealment'”. http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article29173.html) An especially suggestive statement in the article reads:
“The Black Empowerment scams through which White-run companies co-opt a few blacks that get shares to advance their own agendas in the name of a phony racial balance and reparations. While some in the new black middle and upper class benefit, inequality is blatant. This has led to great cynicism and encourages greed
3. The mutation of the same cabal with a moribund agenda into a new organization:
One wonders why they bothered to propose the establishment of the new ARC organization. It is quite evident that they are affiliated to AfTLD, and plan to help AfTLD; and by this very posturing became opposed to DCA and have actually been engaged in a disquieting campaign to
undermine and misrepresent DCA even at ICANN Singapore.
According to their website, the ARC intends to work with AfNOG and claim to be in discussions with AfriNIC; therefore, it is safe for one to conclude that the opponents and detractors of DCA on the DotAfrica issue have again mutated and constituted a new team (as the ‘ARC’), thereby proving that in truth, “the Leopard cannot change its spots”.
It is abundantly clear that the ARC proposal is simply a rehash of the moribund dotafrica.org proposal (http://www.dotafrica.org) presented by Dr.Nii Quaynor which has now undergone another mutation. Nii Quaynor thought that dotafrica.org should pre-select Internet Solutions (Pty.) Ltd. of South Africa as a first choice registry operator, whilst the yet to be established ARC aims to use the assistance of a venture capitalist, Andile Ngcaba who is affiliated to Dimension Data, the owners of the said Internet Solutions. Andile Ngcaba would have bought the ARC idea for its financial prospects, in which case he would simply consider DotAfrica as another investment portfolio of his expanding (or converging) technology media and telecommunications empire.
ARC is simply a resuscitated dotafrica.org but now with Convergence Investment Partners money, and Internet Solutions (Pty) Ltd. removed and replaced by ARC. Nii Quaynor argued for community-ownership and dotafrica.org is registered to him, and as such had a vested (personal) interest; so in order to come up with something entirely different but still the same, the idea of a new ARC was floated but not yet registered like dotafrica.org
It is indeed unfortunate that dotafrica.org a proposal that was already discredited based on illegality and conflict of interest and thus became moribund, is now undergoing a mutation into the ARC but this time, in a more invidious and self-defeating manner because of the potential of
using the ARC to midwife and perpetrate a “BEE scam”
4. Milking the DotAfrica ‘cow’ for whatever it is worth & entirely for profit with no intention of serving the public good
Their avowed intention is that “financial resources generated from the profits of ARC will be channeled via AFTLD on a “to-be-determined” basis taking into account the operational requirements of ARC.” (See http://africanregistry.net/content.php?contentID=9 ) It is therefore manifest that their grand desire is simply based on
carpetbag opportunism with the intention of profiteering as much as possible from DotAfrica with no fit and proper intentions to serve the cause of the public good. They only intend to milk DotAfrica based on an openly vaunted, entirely profit-driven motive; and ‘channel’ monies in the form of ‘ex-gratia payments’ (or ‘kickbacks’?) to AfTLD.
5. AFTLD prospective financial gains and rent seeking intentions
Vika Mpisane is the General Manager of the Domain Name Authority in South Africa (a ccTLD for South Africa). He is also Chairman of AfTLD. It is obvious for all to see that this plausible ‘South-African connection’ was conceived within the same vein of the earlier “Internet Solutions proposal” floated by the same cabal that initially supported dotafrica.org, but which has now shifted allegiances to AfTLD. Again, it is safe to conclude that Vika Mpisane vigorously pushed the same proposal to Andile Ngcaba to enable the African Registry Consortium (ARC) to be proposed for establishment in order to help fund the AfTLD bid for DotAfrica. This therefore exposes the negative, profit-oriented, yet shameless rent-seeking intentions of AfTLD towards DotAfrica.
It is now obvious to one and all that the AfTLD leadership led by Vika Mpisane, and their confederates simply constitute a self-serving cabal that is intent on personal financial aggrandizement without considering the greater social benefit of DotAfrica to all Africans.
BEE scamming possibilities also makes this ARC Proposal very larcenous with illegality written all over it.
6. AFTLD reneging on its non-profit ccTLD ‘community’ mandate to chase after ‘gTLD’ for profit.
Whilst DCA has repeatedly stated that AFTLDs mandate is a conflict of interest with regards to serving the gTLD constituency, nevertheless, this present unwholesome affiliation with a moneyed-class to gain the financial interest of a venture capitalist (to with, Convergence Investment Partners), has shown that the AFTLD actually has again showed its true colors by reneging on its mandate, from a non-profit to profit motive and with no intention of actually representing the African Internet Community. They intend to represent themselves based on ‘greedy-needy’ instincts and imagination.
Vika Mpisane who has proved very arrogant and boastful regarding the chances of his group, and their presumed ‘upper hand’ by engaging in a public propaganda war to sideline and misrepresent DCA as a “for profit” enterprise and “not for community” so as to deceitfully garner AU support, is now using AfTLD to hijack DotAfrica with the aim of giving it to the highest bidder (Andile Ngcaba) for profit, since Convergence Partners Investments claims to be a profit-oriented concern that is in the technology, media and telecommunications sectors (hence, ‘convergence’ since these areas are now converging).
7. The insider dealing of the cabal continues…
Convergence Investment Partners would have only been hoodwinked to participate in this murky ARC scheme if the AfTLD operatives had convinced them that with the illegal help of the ‘Cabal’, they have now supposedly gained the ‘upper hand’ through unfair means to enable them obtain an AU endorsement.
Again, DCA feels vindicated that its allegations of wholesale illegality, unfairness, victimization, lack of transparency and accountability have proven true.
8. No benefits to AU or the African Internet Community they claim to represent
The AU has been largely deceived because these people are only interested in themselves, and are just using the AU machinery to have their way, without any benefit to the AU or to the ‘African Internet Community’ which they claim to represent?
Where is the justice in attempting to sabotage DCA’s endorsement from the AU simply to give room for this type of grand deception?
Should these people be allowed to perform this hijack of DotAfrica? Clearly No! They have a hidden and controversial agenda. They are simply hell-bent on ‘stealing and controlling DotAfrica’ for selfish reasons.
9. A cuckoo business model of Carpetbaggers, Profiteers and Opportunists
The ‘cuckoo business model’ of ARC (See http://domainincite.com/beware-the-new-gtld-cuckoos/ and also http://domainsafrica.blogspot.com/2011/06/beware-new-gtld-cuckoos-dotafrica-has.html should now be widely condemned as carpet-bag profiteering and shameless rent-seeking as sponsored by the AfTLD and actively promoted by a selfish cabal.
Andile Ngcaba is a highly respected business leader in South Africa with a good reputation, andshould not now allow himself to be used by a discredited and selfish cabal to foster an unethical hijack of DotAfrica simply to satisfy the financial greed of ‘double-players’ and ‘double-dealers’
Based on the above 9 counts, DCA seriously frowns upon the involvement of ARC and Convergence Partners Investments (Pty) Ltd.’s involvement in AfTLD, and any corporate and or pecuniary interests that they have shown to assist in the DotAfrica bid of AfTLD.
DCA hereby condemns such unethical business opportunism, being promoted by carpetbaggers who deceive the African Union and the larger African Internet Community and think money can buy them everything.
DCA wishes to appeal to well-meaning individuals, groups, governments and prospective registrants and stakeholders to say No to ARC involvement in DotAfrica and not to give them any form of support.
** Related articles to public service issues on Uniforum of SouthAfrica.
“The Leopard indeed cannot change its spots”
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knows the African Market well
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