Regardless of whether you are profitable or the size of your company, there are advantages to registering a company in South Africa. These include company name protection, tax incentives, financial assistance, and business compliance.

Where do I register my business?

  1. You can register your company online on the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) website, or on the website, a platform created by the CIPC that offers company registration and related services.
  2. You can also register your company via a bank, including Nedbank and First National Bank.
  3. Another way to register your business is to outsource the admin to businesses that have the expertise to offer company registration services and related services. Many of them provide packaged services that include company registration and related services such as SARS consulting, labour registrations, CIDB registration, and upgrades, tax returns/ compliance, or accounting services.

What is the CIPC and what does the law say?

The Company and Intellectual Property Registry (CIPRO) was replaced by the Corporations and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) in May 2011. Along with the new Companies Act, the Act changed the way business owners must register their companies. The law does not allow new closed legal entities (CCs) to be registered, but legal entities registered prior to May 1 can continue to operate as CCs.

All companies fall into certain categories and each have specific requirements regarding the required documentation. The Company Law stipulates he two main categories of companies, non-profit and for-profit companies, and other types of companies fall into these categories.

What types of companies can register with the CIPC?

You can choose to register your company as one of the following:

1. Non-profit companies: A company incorporated for public benefit or other object relating to one or more cultural or social activities, or communal or group interests.

2. Profit companies: A business/organisation whose primary goal is making money, this includes anything from retail stores to restaurants to insurance companies to real estate companies.

3. Personal liability companies: Company directors and past directors are jointly liable for any debts and liabilities arising during their periods in office. The company name ends with the word ‘incorporated’.

4. Public companies: A public company is one that has issued securities through an initial public offering (IPO) and is traded on at least one stock exchange. It has more than 50 shareholders and its shares are offered to the public.

5. Private companies: These are similar to what was previously known as close corporations. Some of the changes made to private companies include fewer disclosure and transparency requirements, no longer being limited to 50 shareholders, and with a board that must comprise at least one director. The name of a private company must end with the expression ‘Proprietary Limited’ or ‘(Pty) Ltd’.

How long does it take to register a company?

According to online PTY registration, it takes 7 to 21 days to reserve a name. The company deed can be registered within 3-5 days after this, depending on whether the documents have been filed on time and how busy the registry office is.


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