How to register as an essential business during South Africa’s lockdown

Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel announced that all businesses which will be allowed to provide essential services during South Africa’s 21-day lockdown are required to seek approval from the government to continue operating.

Patel said these businesses are required to apply for permission on the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission’s BizPortal website and obtain a certificate from that allows them to continue trading.

The BizPortal website will contain a menu icon listed as “Essential Service Businesses” through which an application can be made to the CIPC, he said.

The application will be a declaration requiring minimal registration details including:

  • Type of business/trade involved in.
  • What trading name if any is used.
  • Whether it meets the requirements contained in the list of the essential services.
  • The contact details of the person applying.
  • The number of employees that will be working during the lockdown period.

The CIPC registry will then pre-populate the remaining company information and email a certificate stating that the business is allowed to remain trading.

The certificate can then be used as evidence that the business has been given government permission to trade and that its employees are able to have unrestricted movement in the course of that trade.

False applications

Patel warned that if you make a false application to the CIPC, and are not an essential service as per the government regulations, this will be taken as a fraudulent application and will render you liable to criminal prosecution and sanction.

The Department of Cooperative and Government Affairs published new regulations last night which outline the “essential services” which will be allowed to continue working during South Africa’s 21-day coronavirus lockdown.

The regulations make provisions for jobs in a range of sectors – including health, communications, and logistics.

These workers will also have to carry a permit showing that they are classified as essential and are allowed to be on the roads.

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How to register as an essential business during South Africa’s lockdown