How To Register a Business In South Africa (Step by Step).

Register a Business In South Africa today by following the easy step by step on this page. – The need to leave your house and stand in never-ending queues is long gone in our technologically-advanced world.  

Register a Business In South Africa

This page  have laid out a step-by-step  on how to register your business simply by using the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) website portal,

To Register a Business In South Africa, there are five types of companies that you can register.  If you wish to run a franchise business for example, you would register a private company.

If you wish to register a church, you would register a non-profit company.

In terms of business like a  private school, they could be registered as a private company or non-profit company, depending on its objectives.

An association of professionals such as lawyers, doctors, civil engineers etc, may be registered as a personal liability company.

Following the South African Companies Act, 2008, a company may be registered with or without a company name. When a company is registered without a reserved name, its registration number automatically becomes the company name. This is the quickest way to register a company in South Africa.

Now lets take quick question! What name do you think of  using for your business? When choosing your name it is important to choose a name that will most likely be accepted by CIPC otherwise this can cause delays in the registration process.

Avoid names containing “International”, “Projects” or “National” for example Johannesburg International, Johannesburg Projects or Johannesburg National. These names will likely be rejected by CIPC as they can be misleading.

In the case of surnames, only surnames of the members, directors or major shareholders will be allowed.

CIPC As Official Portal For Business Registration In South Africa

CIPC is the official portal for business registration in South Africa. The portal is committed to continuously work on improving its service delivery standards and these will be reviewed every six months, as their systems and processes improve.

Kindly note that CIPC is prioritizing the processing of on-line applications or lodgments relative to the manual lodgments.  Therefore customers are encouraged to file their applications electronically. These standards will be adhered to on condition that:

Customers submit accurate and complete information.

The Customer’s account has sufficient funds available for the transaction to be processed.

Functions of CIPC
  • Registration of Companies, Co-operatives and Intellectual Property Rights (trade marks, patents, designs and copyright) and maintenance thereof
  • Disclosure of Information on its business registers
  • Promotion of education and awareness of Company and Intellectual Property Law
  • Promotion of compliance with relevant legislation
  • Efficient and effective enforcement of relevant legislation
  • Monitoring compliance with and contraventions of financial reporting standards, and making recommendations thereto to Financial Reporting Standards Council (FRSC)
  • Licensing of Business rescue practitioners
  • Report, research and advise Minister on matters of national policy relating to company and intellectual property law

Types of Companies that Can Register With 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 the Online PTY Registration, business name registration takes between seven to 21 days.

A company certificate can be registered within three to five days afterward, depending on whether you have submitted your documents on time, and the workload of the registrar’s office.

Can I Register Company if I am listed on ITC ?

Yes you can register a company if you are blacklisted at credit bureaus You will however have a problem to open a bank account.

 Can Foreigners Register a Company in SA?

Yes, you will have to provide us with a valid passport copy or RSA ID Document and have a residential address in South Africa.

 I Dont Have an Accounting  Officer. What do I do?

We will assign our own Accounting Officer at no extra cost. We will send you the necessary documents.

All companies are registered with CIPC (Companies and Intellectual Property Commission) and can be validated on their website. CIPC (Companies and Intellectual Property Commission) is a division of the DTi

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How To Register a Business In South Africa (Step by Step)

To register your business in South Africa, here’s the step by step you must to follow:

Welcome to the CIPC eServices system. To register your business in South Africa, you must have a valid CIPC customer code.

Please note that currently you can only register private and non-profit companies with standard memorandum of incorporation, all other company types must be filed manually. Forms are available on

Step 1: Create a Customer Code

How To Create a new Customer Code

Visit the official portal of CIPC eServices website. From the homepage, navigate to and click the Customer Registration link.

The next page you will be required to enter your identity number before being prompted to enter required personal and contact information. Complete all required fields.

How To Create a new Customer Code

To be able to transact with CIPC, you need to register as a customer on our website. Once registered, a virtual account is created in your name.

  1. Click here to create a customer code and password.
  2. Click on “Customer Registration”.
  3. Indicate if you have a South African green barcoded ID document or smart card. (Yes/No)
  4. If Yes, complete the ID number and Surname and click on Continue.  If you do not have an ID number, complete your password number.
  5. Complete the required fields and click on Register.  Please note that the Surname, Name(s0 and ID/Passport Number will be pre-populated on this screen.  All compulsory fields are indicated with an asterisk.
  6. The fields will be verified. If there is any problem or missing information, an error message will display in red, indicating what is required. Correct the fields as indicated and click on “Register” again.
  7. If the registration was successful, the following message will display: “CUSTOMER CODE REGISTERED!
    Your new CIPC customer code has been sent to your cellphone and email address. Click continue below to change your password. Customer Code: X1234.”
    Click on Continue.
  8. A message will display, indicating that your new CIPC customer code has been sent to your cell phone and email address.  Click on continue to change your password.
  9. On the next screen, most fields are pre-populated.  Complete the security question, and type in a password.  Re-type the password for verification purposes.  Check the pre-populated fields and update if any information need to change.  Click on Update.
  10. A message will display indicating that your customer details have been updated, and that your CIPC customer login details have been sent to your email and cellphone.  Click on Continue.
  11. The landing page of the transactional website will be displayed.  Click on the relevant button to transact.

Registering as a customer is a once-off process. Keep your customer code and password secure to use for all transactions.

  • In order to transact, click on On-line transacting, and choose the relevant transaction.
  • If you wish to proceed with customer registration click here.


Before you will be able to transact on the website, deposit funds into your CIPC account. Reserving a business name is R50-00 and registering a business with a standard Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) is R125-00. Ensure you have deposited enough money into your CIPC account to complete your process.

Step 2: Create a Business Name

Register a Business In South Africa

Firstly, your business should have a name. Deciding on a clear, powerful name also provides for great marketing and branding efforts.

A name which bares relevance to what is being offered or provided should also be kept in mind – simply naming your I.T. business “Sparkle & Shine” might have customers terribly confused as to what services your business provides!

Once you have decided on a name for your business, navigate from the CIPC eServices website to Transact, and from the dashboard menu that appears click Name Reservations.

Here you will be asked your first name choice and three additional names should your first choice not be available.

Submit and you will receive a tracking number for the name reservation as well as an email confirming name reserved, this document is referred to as a COR9.4.

How To Create a Business Name

If you’re not sure of your perfect business name you may register your business using the registration number as the business name.

This can be changed at a later stage by reserving the name, and then requesting a name change, although the MOI of the business will have to be amended after the name change has been successful.

Step 3: Choose Your Business Type

Before you register your business, you must give a thinking a chance to decide  the type of business entity or company you would like to register.

The types of companies that can be registered in South Africa are Private (Pty Ltd) and Public Companies (Ltd), Personal Liability Companies (Inc.), and Non-Profit Organisations (NPO). Close Corporations are no longer registered in South Africa.

When registering a company on the CIPC website portal, you will be given the option of a Standard Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) or a bespoke one.

The MOI contains the “rules” of the business, how decisions are made and how the business is structured. For purposes of this article, we only deal with the registration of a company with the standard MOI.

Step 4: Register Your Business Online

Click on the Company Registration and continue your online registration. Here you will register your company as a valid and existing legal entity.

Register a Business In South Africa

Start by entering your identity number when prompted and click to continue to the next page where you will be required to, once again, enter your personal information (or that of the director should you be registering as the representative or proxy) as well as contact information of incorporators and directors.

You will then be required to complete details of the business, i.e. company’s financial year-end, amount of shares issued, etc. Don’t hesitate to give us a shout should you need more information about what these all entail.

Once this has all be completed, you will go to the name reservation screen.

You will navigate to the “Use Name Already Reserved” tab. Now, retrieve the confirmation email you received (COR9.4) for the name reservation and note the tracking number. Enter the tracking number where prompted and continue.

On successful registration, you will receive another tracking number. This will follow with an email confirmation containing the COR 15.1A document. This document needs to be signed and dated by the incorporator/director.

Step 5: Complete Your Business Registration

The process is not completed until the signed supporting documents are received by the CIPC.

The documents you will need to complete the registration are:

  • Your name reservation confirmation letter;
  • Your signed COR 15.1A form;
  • A certified copy of your South African ID and/or;
  • Completed Power of Attorney form – should you be acting as a representative or proxy.

Have your documents scanned to your computer and attached as an email to with the tracking number as listed on the COR15.1A in your subject line.

Upon successful registration of your business, you will receive your company registration documents, also known as the COR 14.3 document and MOITurnaround times varies between 1 – 3 days.

Required Documents To Register a Business in South Africa

The following supporting documents are required:

    • Certified identity copy of applicant;
    • Certified copies of the Identity Documents of the Directors and Incorporators;
      • lodgement of a passport copy is only accepted as proof of identity for non-residents of South Africa. For South African residents a green bar-coded/ smart  ID copy must be lodged (certified).”
    • The name confirmation certificate (COR9.4), if applicable;
    • Power of attorney (if applicable);
    • For trust or company/juristic person as an incorporator, the resolution and certified ID copy of the duly authorised representative must be attached.

What if my Business Name Reservation is Not Approved?

If your initial name reservation application is not approved, you will need to apply for new names. You may apply for between 1 and 4 names during each application process.

Each name reservation application costs R50. A company registration may vary between R125 and R475 (R125 for a private company, R475 for a non-profit company registered without members).

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