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Last Updated on March 30, 2023

How to Register a Business in South Africa

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Entrepreneurship has been gaining traction in South Africa, and yet, many still hold false beliefs about how to register a business in South Africa.

Registering a business is a pretty straightforward process. For entrepreneurs interested in doing business the right way, this article contains a step-by-step guide on how to register a business in South Africa.

Determine the business entity

The first step to registering a business in South Africa is to conduct thorough research on the type of business entity or company you would like to register.

For this, you might need the assistance of a professional advisor or legal practitioner. Different business structures carry different tax obligations and liabilities. 

The types of companies registered in South Africa include; Private Limited and Public Companies, Personal Liability companies, and Non-Profit Organisations, to name a few. 

Open an account

The next step to registering a business in South Africa is to visit the CIPC eServices website. Once you get to the home page, click on the Customer Registration link. 

On the next page, you will have to input your identity number before entering your personal and contact information. Carefully fill in all the required fields. 

Before any transaction can take place on the site, you must deposit funds into your CIPC account. The process requires the entire sum to be available on account to move to the next stage successfully.

Reserving a business name is roughly R50.00 while registering a business with a standard Memorandum of Incorporation(MOI) is R125.00.

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Name Your Business

By this point, you should have already determined a name for your business. Your business name should be unique, easily memorable, and, if possible, connected to your business activity.

Once you have decided what to name your business, scroll to Transact on the CIPC eServices website. From the dashboard menu options, click Name Reservations.

At this point, you will have to fill in the details of your first name of choice and three additional names in case your first choice is already in the system.

After submitting the information, you will receive a tracking number for your request and an email confirming the information and name options submitted. This document is called a COR9.4 form.

If you are unsure about the name or aren’t ready to commit to one, you can still register your business using the registration number, which would take the place of a business name. At a later date, you may opt to change this to something more suitable for your business. 

Registering your company online

Find your way from the transact page to enterprise registration. 

In this section, you will register your company as a separate legal entity. Enter your identification number when prompted and continue to the next page to get started.

Once again, you will be required to enter your personal information (or that of the director should you register on behalf of another party), as well as the contact information of incorporators and directors.

You will then be prompted to fill in details of the business, such as; the company’s financials, number of shares issued, and others.

After completing this step, you’ll move onto the name reservation screen.

Here, you’ll click on ‘Use Name Already Reserved.’ From the confirmation email you received upon initial registration, you will retrieve the tracking name and name reserved, then feed in these details.

Upon successful registration, you will receive another tracking number and an email confirmation with a COR15.1A document. This document must be signed and dated by the company director.

The final step

By this point, you’re almost at the finish line but need to gather all your supporting documents. This process is not complete until the CIPC is in possession of the signed supporting documents.

Here’s a list of the documents needed to complete registration;

  • Name reservation confirmation letter.
  • Signed COR15.1A form
  • Certified copy of South African ID (or its equivalent)
  • Completed Power of Attorney form (if you’re acting as a proxy)

After gathering all the documents, scan and send via email to eServicesCoReg@cipc.co.za with the tracking number listed on the form as the email subject.

Once you’ve completed this entire process, it will only take a few days (typically 3-5) before your company will be fully registered to operate legally within the South African borders.

In conclusion, the entire process of registering a company in South Africa is straightforward and not nearly as intimidating as some would think. Once you visit the CIPC eServices website, the rest of the process follows systematically. 


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