Companies need certificates to operate during South Africa’s level 4 lockdown

The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) has confirmed that South African companies will still need to obtain a certificate to show that they are permitted to operate during the country’s new level 4 lockdown regulations.

Under South Africa’s level 5 restrictions, companies were required by government to sign-up through the CIPC’s BizPortal to show that they were an essential service and are allowed to operate.

With the country moving to level 4 restrictions, a number of businesses and more than 1.5 million employees returned to work – but no clarity was provided as to whether a certificate was required for these new businesses which are permitted to operate.

The CIPC confirmed that the BizPortal has been updated to accommodate the “new” activities and sectors permitted to operate as per the risk-adjusted regulations for Level 4.

“Companies/sectors which are permitted to operate as per Level 4 Regulations would be required to register on BizPortal and obtain a certificate which would permit them to operate,” a CIPC spokesperson said.

“With that said, the responsibility lies with the business owner to make certain that the services they offer complies with the regulations.”

The process on the BizPortal to register is the same. The difference would be the categories between Level 4 and Level 5. And the difference would be the certificate issued.

“It is worth noting that Level 5 is higher restriction and with only essential services being permitted, and for such, provisions are in place.”

Only for registered companies

The certificate is a reference to the legal registration of the company in terms of the Companies Act and a record of registration to the CIPC.

This means that the registration portal is only for companies registered in terms of the Companies Act, the DTI said.

“Other essential service providers, like healthcare professionals registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa, sole proprietors who provide essential goods and services (like small business owners and spaza shops), and small-scale farmers will not register through the Bizportal.

“These businesses will not have a CIPC certificate, but must still comply with the provisions of the lockdown regulations,” it said.

Where the CIPC finds that certificates have been issued to companies which do not meet the definitions of an essential service, such certificate will be revoked, and the company will be referred to the South African Police Services, the DTI said.

“False declaration by the company is a criminal offence and will result in prosecution, in terms of lockdown regulations.”

Read: A shocking picture of what it’s like to be a small business owner in South Africa right now

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Companies need certificates to operate during South Africa’s level 4 lockdown