How essential businesses can apply and register to stay open during the coronavirus lockdown

Minister of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel, has announced that all businesses that will be allowed to provide essential services are required to seek approval from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition for them to trade during the period of the lockdown.

Patel said that such businesses are required to apply to the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) Bizportal website and obtain a certificate from the Commission 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 simple 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 to authorities requiring same that indeed the business has been given government permission to trade and that its employees are able to have unrestricted movement ONLY in the course of that trade.

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

This service is set to be active from Thursday (26 March) at the start of business trading hours.

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

The regulations make provisions for more than 28 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.

Read: You cannot buy alcohol or walk your dog during coronavirus lockdown as South Africa introduces strict new measures

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How essential businesses can apply and register to stay open during the coronavirus lockdown