Documents Needed To Start A Business In South Africa

Heita! Congratulations are in order if you have decided to start a business in our beautiful South Africa. One of the next questions that probably pops up is “How do I register my business?” Perhaps, you are wondering about the type of documents you will need to launch your business in South Africa. 

Well, wonder no more because this article is crafted to answer all the numerous questions you have about registering your business in South Africa. So hang on and relax as we dive right into it soon. 

South Africa ranks as the third biggest economy in Africa closely following Egypt which ranked second on the recent rankings. SA frantically requires her nationals to launch small businesses to assist in fighting the high unemployment percentages in the nation.

In return, South Africa’s economy strengthens business owners to flourish so you can be sure that your business is set to succeed here.

However, a famous myth has held many business owners back from starting their businesses. A lot of people believe the myth that registering a business in South Africa is knotted and costly. This article is also targeted at debunking this myth and guiding you on the agencies you need to register with and the documents you need to start your business in South Africa.

So without further ado, let us quickly check out the agencies you need to register your business with.


Agencies To Register Your Business Within South Africa

  • Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC)

CIPC is the agency that principally handles the registration of businesses and companies in South Africa. Every day businesses and one-man businesses don’t need to register with the CIPC.

However, establishments that desire to do business with the government and the conventional sector or obtain funding from the government and investors must be registered with the CIPC.

The CIPC registration can be done either online or at appointed offices situated in Pretoria, Johannesburg, and Cape Town. Approved banks like First National Bank also assist with the CIPC registration. Payment of R175 is linked to the total registration process.

If you are registering via the online route, you will have to first register as a client and provide the details of the manager of the company. Afterward, you will be issued a CIPC customer code.

Thereafter, you will have to choose and reserve your company name. You would be required to perform a name search on the CIPC website to be certain that no other business or company is using your intended business name. This process is free of charge once you are registered as a CIPC customer.

After choosing a name that you are certain is not already in use, you will then proceed to submit your name choice to the CIPC. You will get a response from the CIPC after three days either approving your business name or rejecting it. 

Upon the approval of your business name, it is credible for six months. Once your business name is reserved, you will need to make payment into the official CIPC bank account and submit your registration form.

Once your registration is verified you can then download the certificate of incorporation from the CIPC website. The CIPC registration takes up to twenty-five days from the time of application. 


Documents required for the CIPC registration:

  • An authorized sample of the applicant’s ID.
  • An authorized sample of the ID of all the executives of the company. 
  • Foreigners need a passport sample for confirmation.
  • Credible name reservation certificate downloaded from the CIPC website.
  • Endorsed sample of the application forms.
  • The business physical address, email, bank information, and other details.
  • Power of attorney to authorize all related documents.
  • Authorized ID sample of identification of the power of attorney.


  • South African Revenue Services (SARS).

All businesses or companies in South Africa are mandated by the law to pay taxes. The SARS handles all issues concerning tax payment in South Africa. SARS issues an income tax citation number upon registration. 

Upon registration with the CIPC as a company, you will be registered automatically as a taxpayer with the SARS. However, as a one-man business owner, you need to either visit the SARS office or website with your CIPC documentation to register as a taxpayer.

Your SARS registration must be done within sixty days of launching your business.


Final words.

South Africa gives entrepreneurs a facilitative atmosphere to succeed without difficulties and business or company registration is far from complex as people believe it is.

However, ensure that you determine if your business idea fits into a company or sole proprietorship structure. Furthermore, open a corporate bank account for your business to ensure a smooth and thorough flow of finances.

I look forward to seeing your business at the very top!

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