Company Registration in South Africa

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How to do a new business registration in South Africa? South Africa is the second-largest economy in Africa, after Nigeria. With its world-class financial sector and well-developed infrastructure, it is an ideal business destination. For smooth business activities, it is essential to follow legal procedures for company registration.

Registering your company name in South Africa is possible through the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission. This can be done online or in person.

  • You can either register your company online on the CIPC website. This is only possible if your company is a standard Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI). Read further for an explanation.
  • You can only do your new business registration in South Africa at a self-service terminal.
  • You can also opt for a registration service from Company Registration Agencies in South Africa.

Before starting registering the company by yourself you will first need to register as a customer or go through a collaborating bank such as First National Bank. Check this for opening a business account in South Africa with other banks.

Types of Companies in South Africa

Being a fast-growing business hub in Africa, entrepreneurs seek to establish their own companies. There are five types of companies you can register in South Africa.

  • Public Company:  it offers shares to the public.
  • Private Company: its primary purpose is to make profits and does not offer shares to the public.
  • Incorporated Company: this is an association of doctors, lawyers, etc. It can be registered as a Personal Liability Company.
  • Non-Profit Company: includes churches and charity organizations.
  • External/ Foreign Company: a company incorporated outside of South Africa. It can either be a profit or a non-profit company.

Company Registration in South Africa Online


With the advancement in technology, company registration in South Africa can now be done online. Private companies are the most common and simplest company types to register. They may be registered with a standard or a customized Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI).

  • A standard MOI is provided by law and is integrated into the company registration process.
  • On the other hand, a customized MOI allows shareholders to propose their desired conditions and is attached to the application.

You can only register Private companies and non-profit companies with a standard MOI online. All other company types must be filed manually.


Registration of a Private Company with a Standard MOI

The following is the registration process for a Private Company with a standard MOI on the CIPC website. The entire registration cost is outlined on the website.

Register as a customer

To access services on the CIPC website, you need to create an account and register as a customer. Upon registration, a virtual account is created in your name. Customer registration is a one-time process. You will need to keep your customer code and password for all future transactions.

Deposit Funds

When depositing funds into the CIPC bank account, you use your customer code as a reference. You will deposit R175 for company registration with a name reservation and R125 for a company registration without a name reservation.

Company Name Reservation

When applying for a name reservation, it is best to provide between 1-4 names according to their preference. Upon approval, the name will be added to the company registration queue. Nevertheless, the Companies Act, 2008, provides a possibility of company registration without a reserved name. In such a case, the company’s enterprise number becomes the company name. A name may be added later through a name amendment, which requires an approved name reservation and a special resolution to effect a change to the Memorandum of Incorporation.

Company Registration

Following the name reservation approval, you will receive an SMS and email confirmation of the name reservation with a reference number of the reservation. You will then proceed with company registration. Here, you will need to enter the details of the Company Director and details of the company. After verifying all details, upload all the required forms and documents on the website. Otherwise, you can choose to send scanned documents to [email protected].


Registering a private company with the CIPC will automatically register your company with the South African Revenue Services (SARS). Other business types, such as Sole Proprietorships, will need to register with SARS within 60 days of starting their business activities.

How to Register a Company at Self Service Terminals in South Africa

To register a company at self-service terminal in South Africa, you need the following:

  • All directors to be present
  • Valid SA ID Number
  • Valid Cellular Telephone Number
  • E-mail Address

Apart from registering a company with or without a name reservation at the self service terminals, you can also do the following:

  • Register as a CIPC Customer with a customer code
  • Reset your password if you already have a customer code but have forgotten your password
  • File your annual return or calculate what annual return fees are outstanding
  • Generate a certificate of your company, indicating its status, the directors and other relevant details.

Read CIPC instructions on how to conduct the above transactions at the self service terminals here.

Free Company Registration in South Africa

Apart from carrying out the company registration process yourself on the CIPC website and at self-service terminals, you can seek registration services from Company Registration Agencies in South Africa. They offer different company registration costs and some free registration services.  The free services offered across the agencies include;

  • Free website domains and website designs
  • Free Business Bank Accounts
  • Free Official BEE Affidavit
  • Free Tax Number
  • Free Consultation Services, among other services.

With Company Registration Agencies, you simply register as their customer, provide your company details, and they do the rest for you. Examples of these agencies are 1-grid, Company Partners, PTYshop, and Statucor. There are three company options that you can decide to register with Company Registration Agencies.

  • New Company Name: this is an excellent option if you want to register with a name of your choice and if you have much time available.
  • Shelf Name: it is an excellent option if you like the agency’s shelf names.
  • Buying a Shelf Company: this is a company that is already registered. If you need a company number for contracts or tenders immediately, this is the best option.

Business Registration Certificates in South Africa

Upon complete company registration, there are certificates available for retrieval on the CIPC website, or they can be sent to you by the registration agency you used for registration. Examples include;

  • Certificate of Incorporation. It shows that your company is registered and can start carrying out its activities.
  • A share Certificate. This is a document that certifies the ownership of shares in a company
  • Tax Clearance Certificate. It is issued by SARS upon tax payment and is usually valid for 1 year.
  • B-BBEE Certificate or Affidavit. Businesses with turnover between R10 and R50 million need a B-BBEE certificate, while those that earn less than R10 million need a B-BBEE Affidavit.
  • COID Registration Certificate/A Letter of Good Standing. It is issued at the Department of Labour. It shows that your business is “in good standing” with the National Compensation Fund.

Post-Registration Obligations

Upon successful company registration, you need to ensure that your company operates within the stipulated South African business laws. You will need to:

File Annual Returns

All companies in South Africa are required to file their annual returns with the South Africa Revenue Services every year. Failure to file your annual returns within the correct time frame may result in deregistration of your company.


Register an Office Address

The South African law requires all registered companies to register an office address with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission. All companies must keep their registers either at the registered office address or at another inspection location.

Company Registration Requirements in South Africa

Different types of companies may have different registration requirements. However, A Memorandum of Incorporation (form CoR15.1A) is mandatory for the registration of all companies. An MOI states company rules governing the management and maintenance of the business.  Other required documents include:

  • Filled copies of a Notice of Incorporation (form CoR14.1).
  • A certified Identity Copy of the applicant if none of the directors is making the application.
  • Certified copies of the Identity documents of Company Directors and Incorporators.  Non-residents of South Africa will need to provide passport copies, while South African residents will provide a copy of a green bar-coded ID or a smart ID.
  • A valid name reservation confirmation certificate (CoR9.4).
  • Power of Attorney to sign all the related documents on behalf of the incorporator if applicable.
  • For a juristic person as an incorporator, attachment of the resolution and a certified ID copy of the authorized representative is required.

How to Check for a Company Registration Number in South Africa

A Company Registration Number is used in a search to verify if a company exists. If you want to check for a company’s registration number in South Africa, visit the CIPC portal and perform the company name search. You will get details such as the company’s postal address, the company name, and registration number.  The search is free. Company registration numbers are essential for loans, contracts, funding, and tenders.


Since South Africa is experiencing rapid economic growth, you might want to do business here. However, it is essential to follow all legal procedures for company registration. This will help you run your business activities without facing legal restrictions.


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