Vital details on how to register a business in South Africa

Setting up a business can be a daunting process. You are basically moving into a terrain which you barely know much about and there are lot of challenges you’re likely to face.

There are some potential legal hoops you would need to jump through in order to be properly set up as a new business.

South Africa is among the top economies that rank as conducive markets when it comes to the ease of doing business.

While the business environment is regarded as challenging by some entrepreneurs haggling to have a piece of the cake, a business has to be compliant to take advantage of the opportunities in the offing.

If you are planning to set up a shop in the region, you must adhere to some administrative procedures, legal rules, and statutory requirements beforehand. Read on to know how to register a business in South Africa.

1.Having the right documentation

Some of the documents required by the CIPC to register a company in South Africa include filled copies of a Notice of Incorporation and Memorandum of Incorporation. Other personal documents or requisites that you have to furnish are:

  • Identification documents (ID) or passports of the applicant
  • Power of attorney to sign all the related documents
  • Certified ID copy to identify the power of an attorney for the previous action
  • Valid name reservation in case of a prior filing of incorporation

Note: It will take almost 25 days to have fully registered companies in South Africa from the time of application. However, it will take you a day if you decide to register the company without a reserved name.

2. Reserving a company name

Before you even reserve a name, you need to carry out a name search with the CIPC to ensure that no other company bears the trademark or name. CIPC does not charge business owners to search patented information as long as they have registered on the main portal to access CIPC online services. From the date of application, it will take three days to reserve the name until its approval. Once approved, the name reservation will be valid for six months.

3. Registering with the South African Revenue Services (SARS)

All businesses must fulfill the legal obligation to remit taxes. In our case, a private company will be registered with the taxpayer automatically if the incorporation of the company is done through the CIPC. Otherwise, for other types of businesses registered by sole proprietors or partners, they have to register with SARS within 60 days of starting their business operations.

4. Registering with Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC)

The convenience of business registration South Africa is that you can do it online or in person at the designated terminals. The CIPC self-service terminals are located in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, or at an authorized bank like First National Bank (FNB).

The whole registration cost is R175 inclusive of the charges to reserve the name. Have with you the following document or information ready for the registration:

  • Go to and chose ‘register a new company’
  • Select a new reservation option
  • Print the email form and have it signed
  • Attach the supporting document and send to [email protected]

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