What if I told you that you can register a company online in South Africa?
That all you need is to follow the right steps and you will have your company registration certificate in no time.
And the best part is…
You can do it by yourself…even if you’ve never registered a company before.
You don’t need to pay anyone thousands of rands to do it for you. Not even buying an ebook.
All you need is a mere R175 to get started.
And in this article, I will show you how you can register your company, step by step.
Here is what you’ll learn
- What You Should Know About CIPC
- Step #1: How to Claim a Free Account and Get A Username
- Step #2: How to Deposit Money into Your CIPC Account
- Step #3: How to Reserve Your Company Name
- Step #4: How to Register a Company Online via CIPC Portal
But before I do that, let me tell you about the CIPC – the organisation responsible for company registration in South Africa
So what is CIPC?
CIPC stands for Companies and Intellectual Property Commission.
It was established by the Companies Act, 2008 (Act No. 71 of 2008) as a separate legal entity to work as part of government within the public administration, but as an institution outside the public service.
That was back in May 2011 – when the Companies Act came into effect.
And before that, CIPC was called CIPRO.
CIPC is not only responsible for company registration, but also co-operatives and Intellectual Property Rights (trademarks, patents, designs and copyright) and maintenance of that.
I won’t get into more details about CIPC, but If you’re interested to learn more about its functions, click here.
Now you know about the CIPC, let jump into the details of how to register a company via their online platform.
The first step is to get your unique CIPC username. To do that, you need to create a free account.
Note: If you already have a CIPC username, please skip this step.
Click CUSTOMER REGISTRATION on the left menu.
For the next step, you will need your South African ID number for verification.
Indicate if you have a South African green bar-coded ID document or smart card.
Click either on the Yes or No radial buttons.
If you selected Yes, type in your ID number and Surname.
Click on CONTINUE.
If you selected No and do not have an ID number, type in your Passport Number and click on Continue.
From the ID number you provided, the system will pre-populate your Surname, Name (s) and ID/Passport Number on the screen
Fill in the required fields and click on Register.
Compulsory fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).
The fields you need to fill are:
- Cell Phone Number
- Email Address
- Physical and postal address.
The fields will then be verified.
If there is any problem or missing information, an error message will display in red, showing what is required.
Correct the fields as showed and click on “Register” again.
You’re only allowed to have one customer code per ID number.
If you completed all required fields and selected Register, you will receive the below message.
CUSTOMER CODE REGISTERED!
Your new CIPC customer code has been sent to your cell phone and email address. Click continue below to assign a password to your customer code.
Customer Code: X1234
Click continue to assign a password.
Type in a password, confirm the password and type in the security question. Confirm that all details are correct, and click on UPDATE.
Note: your password must contain:
- Minimum of 8 characters
- At least 1 UPPERCASE letter
- At least 1 lowercase letter
- At least 1 number
- Special characters are optional
- Only these characters are allowed: @$=!#%
When you’re done entering the details, and clicked on the UPDATE button, you’ll get a response from the site stating that your login details have been updated and sent to your email and cellphone.
Click on the CONTINUE button to move to the next step.
You’ve registered your account and have a CIPC username.
So what’s next?
You need to deposit money into the CIPC account.
SO what if I try to register a company without depositing the money?
I hear you asking…
What would happen?
You won’t be able to register a company.
If you try, this is an error you’ll get:
You have insufficient funds on your account. Please deposit the relevant amount into your CIPC account using your customer code as a reference.
R125 if a name already reserved or registering a company without a name.
R175 for company registration and name reservation.
So much do you need to deposit and how?
A minimum of R175 (R50 for company name reservation and R125 for company registration).
NEWS FLASH: You need to use your CIPC username as a reference.
That is important. It will make it easier for CIPC staff members to allocate the funds to your account.
So where can you get the CIPC banking details?
Click TRANSACT on the top right corner your screen and look for a square labelled BANKING DETAILS.
Then you will get the banking details as shown on the screen below. The PAYMENT REFERENCE will be your unique CIPC username.
Once you deposit the funds into the CIPC account via EFT, your account BALANCE will reflect on the left side of the screen.
Now you’re ready to move to the next step; reserving your company name.
Now you’ve registered a customer code and have adequate credit in your account.
The next step is to reserve your company name.
And it’s the first step in registering your company.
You can register a company without reserving a company name first. But I prefer to reserve the company name first before I go ahead with registration. So it’s your choice
From your account, click TRANSACT in the top right corner and click NAME RESERVATIONS ( as shown below).
On the name reservations page, click PROPOSED NAMES
Now enter at least one or a maximum of four proposed names for your company.
The name should be in the order of preference.
Click on SUBMIT PROPOSED NAME(S).
You will then get results, showing if the exact name test was successful or not.
If the test for one of the proposed names was unsuccessful, it will be shown with a cross.
Let me give you an example:
If you look on the results below, Darkie Group (my latest company) has a red cross.
That means the name is not available for registration.
Now you have two choices:
Either click on BACK and propose another name if you want to add another name.
Click LODGE NAME RESERVATION.
If you do the latter, the system will lodge the name available for reservation (names with a green tick). In this case, DARKIE DIGITAL.
Once you click LODGE NAME RESERVATION, The next screen will show the proposed name (s) has been lodged, and give you a tracking number. Click on either BACK TO NAME RESERVATIONS or on HOME.
You will also receive an email from CIPC confirming that your company name reservation has been lodged.
Inside the email, there will also be a reference number. It’s important to keep that reference number in a safe place (or archive it).
You will need it later when lodging your company application.
For guidance on the service delivery standards for name reservations checkout CIPC service turnaround times
Let’s keep this ball rolling.
Did you do everything I showed you above?
If yes, let’s dive into registering your company.
Log into your CIPC account and click TRANSACT on the top right menu.
For the sake of simplicity, I will cover PTY LTD in this article.
Once you chose the company type, you then have to enter details of directors of the company.
If you’re the only one forming the company, enter your ID number, click the GREEN + button and click CONTINUE.
If you’re not the only director of the company, Type in (all) your director (s) ID or passport number (s) and click the plus sign (+) after each director.
After you’ve captured all of them click the CONTINUE button.
Now you need to choose an INCORPORATOR.
What is THAT? You ask.
An incorporator is a person who registers a company but is not necessarily a director in the company.
At least one director you entered on the previous page can be appointed as both director and incorporator.
You can also appoint an incorporator that is not a director.
If you want to do that, click on the ADD NEW INCORPORATOR below.
I am the director of this company (Darkie Group) I am registering. But I am also an incorporator (I am registering the company).
So I don’t need to add a new incorporator. All I have to do is to click CONTINUE.
In the next step, you’ll capture director’s full details.
Click on edit (as shown in the screenshot below) to capture each of the director’s details. It’s important to note that Directors cannot share email addresses and cell phone numbers.<
The first thing is to choose the director type.
There are three options:
This is a director who will be an employee of the company and be part of the day-to-day operations. This person has a specified decision-making role as director. E.g. Managing director, director of finance, marketing, operations e.t.c Read more here
A Non-executive director is NOT an employee of the company and does not take part in the day-to-day management. He or she is usually involved in planning and policy-making and is sometimes included to lend status or prestige to the firm due to his or her standing in the community. Read more here
An alternate directory is a Director available to the company temporarily, to stand for an elected director at a meeting of the board of directors. The alternate director can only go to such meetings if the company (1) MOI (memorandum of incorporation) allow such an arrangement and (2) other elected directors of the firm do not object. Read more here
Now you’ve got a better understanding of the different directors.
Choose the Director you’re editing on the DIRECTOR TYPE field.
Fill in all the required details as shown below:
- Surname and name,
- Country of origin,
- ID/Passport number,
- Director status,
- Appointment date (date appointed as a director of the company),
- Date of birth and cellphone number,
- Email, physical and postal address.
The next thing to do is to capture company details.
The first thing you have to choose the Financial Year End of the company.
But what is this financial year end I am talking about?
Financial year end is an accounting period that can start on any day of a calendar year but has twelve consecutive months (52 consecutive weeks) at the end of which account books are closed, profit or loss is computed, and financial reports are prepared for filing. source
I chose February as a financial year end for the Darkie Group. That means the company’s accounting period will be from 1st March of this year to 28 February of the following year.
Remember: you can choose any other month
Now choose the number of AUTHORISED SHARES.
And I hear you asking:
What are authorised shares?
Authorised Shares are the shares of stock a company can issue to its shareholders. At first, the number will be specified in the MOI but it can be changed later. Authorised shares are all the shares that have been created in a company.
Once the shares are issued to shareholders, they become issued shares. Therefore, to be validly issued, the shares must first have been created or authorised.
In an article by entrepreneur mag, Christina from Norton Rose Fulbright states that:
“The number of authorised shares is set out in a company’s memorandum of incorporation. In order to issue authorised shares, the board of directors of the company must pass a resolution to that effect. The new shareholder is then entered into the company’s register of members, and the company creates a share certificate evidencing the issue, and gives it to the new shareholder. The issue must also be entered into a separate register. A company’s memorandum of incorporation may set out additional requirements for issuing shares.”
I hope that made things clear about the authorized shares.
Back to where we were…
Now enter all the required company details:
- E-mail and website address,
- Company physical address,
- And postal address
And click SAVE.
Now you will be presented with three options for name reservation, namely:
- Apply for a name as part of this process;
- Use a name that has already been approved;
- Register a company using an enterprise number as the name.
In this step, we will use option 2 as we already have a name that is approved.
Click on USE A NAME THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN APPROVED.
Enter your reservation number (tracking reference number you received via your email) and click CONTINUE.
Once you click continue, you will then be presented with company and director details.
Check if the details are correct, and click on MODIFY COMPANY DETAILS if you need to edit either the company details or the director details.
If everything is correct, click on LODGE COMPANY.
The screen below will be shown if your company registration has been filed.
And boom! Your company registration has been filed
You are not done yet. You need to send supporting documentation to complete the process
You will get an email from CIPC, indicating the required supporting documentation.
The email will have an attached form for all directors and incorporators to sign.
Print the e-mailed forms and have indicated directors and incorporators sign at the indicated placed.
After all, directors have signed it, scan and send back to eServicesCoReg@cipc.co.za, together with your certified ID copy and all directors certified ID copies.
Use the tracking number you’ve been provided in the subject field of your email
As per the CIPC email, The application must be finalised within 31 calendar days from the date of lodgement. Therefore, all forms and supporting documents (with fees paid) MUST be lodged within 10 calendar days from the date of lodgement. If you fail to do so, the application to register your company might be registered.
Here’s The Next Step…
Now I want to turn it over to you:
Which of the steps outlined above do you find confusing?
Or do you have any other question about company registration?
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.