Complete Guide How to register a company in South Africa

How to register a company online in South Africa.

Find out how to register a private limited company, the most popular way of starting a business in South Africa. Get to know the private limited company registration procedure. We have provided all information about How to register a company online in South Africa.


To avoid messing up with the name of your company, take into consideration the following points before registering the company name:

  • Choose a name that is easy to remember, pronounce and is short enough to communicate your brand to the customers. Stay away from complex words so that it’s easy to convey the name even on phone.
  • The name should reflect the mission of your business. Let the name showcase what the company is all about and the products your company sells. The last thing you’d want is people to think of cars when your business is into selling food.
  • Choosing a brand name that sounds similar to an existing player is a bad idea. Hire a lawyer to review the name before you register the company. In many cases, brands have had to change their names because of extreme similarities. You don’t want to face this when you’ve spent millions of dollars over marketing the brand.
  • Check if the domain name is available. In this age where a brand has to be present online, if the domain name is already taken by someone else, it doesn’t make sense to choose that company name.


1. Ensure that you have the required documents on the ground

Before you can start your online registration process, you need to understand what exactly you need to go about. For instance, among other things that should be considered, it is important that you must have gotten the name confirmation certificate depending on which company you are registering. Once you have accomplished that, you will also need to have the following documents:

  • A certified identification copy of the applicant;
  • The certified copies of the identification documents or passport of every director and incorporator;
  • The resolution and certified identification copy of the representative who is duly authorised will be required for trust or company/juristic person as an incorporator;
  • Power of attorney depending on the type of company that you are registering.

2. Reserve the proposed name of your company

Once you have all the documents on the ground, the next step is to file for your company’s proposed name. On this, there are a few options that you can choose from. You could register the company in your name and file for a name registration later, or you reserve the name after you have confirmed its availability and later carry out the process of incorporating the company. Then, you can use an enterprise number for the registration with the hope that you will file for an amendment later. How do I register my company name? Here is how to go about that:

  • Visit the official website of CIPC.
  • Once you are there, click on “Customer log in” if you have already registered as a CIPC customer on their platform before but if it is your first time, you will need to register. And to do that, click on “Customer registration”, then, follow the instruction.
  • After you are logged in, click on the “Name Reservation” button.
  • Then, click on “Proposed Names” button, and you will be able to capture as much as four names in your order of preference. While doing this, ensure that you input the names accurately to avoid needing to apply for a change of name later.
  • More so, click on the “Submit Proposed Name” button.
  • Wait for a pop-up message indicating whether the name test was successful or not. If you need to add another name, click the “Back” button and capture another name, and then, click on the “Lodge Name Reservation” button.
  • Once you have a reserved name, it would show, and you will also get your reservation number. Also, an SMS and email would be sent to you confirming the name that is reserved with the reference number.

3. Register with Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC)

How do you register a company in South Africa? To register company online using the CIPC portal, simply follow this guide:

  • On the official website, click on the “On-line Transacting” tab and from the drop down list, click on “eservices”.
  • Once it redirects you, you will need to log in with your customer registration details. So, click on “Customer Login” at the left side of your computer screen.
  • Then, click on “Company Registrations” button and from the options that are given, choose “Register a New Company”.
  • Input the identification number of the company’s director. If you need to add more directors, simply click on the “+” sign.
  • After adding the directors, a message will pop up, asking you to enter the details of the directors. Click on “Edit” to do that, and once you are through, click on the “Save” button.
  • Click the “Continue” button so that you can add other details of the company including the financial year end, email address, authorised shares, physical address, website and postal address. Then, click “Save”.
  • In the next step, you would be asked to choose a name reservation option. If you already have a name reserved, you can choose ‘use a name that has already been approved’ but if you have not and would like to have one, you can select ‘applying for a new name as part of the process’ option. The third option is to register the company using the enterprise number. So, choose whatever is relevant to you to continue with your registration process.
  • Once you have selected and filled in the required information, verify everything that you have captured and then, select the ‘lodge company’ button.
  • If you include all the necessary information and the process is right, you will get a confirmation notification pop-up message on your screen.
  • Then, you will also get an email instructing you to supply the supporting documents. In the email, a form would be attached which you should print and let the incorporators and directors sign in the necessary places.
  • Together with the signed form, send the necessary supporting documents to to complete the process.

Sole proprietor South Africa

Do I need to register my business as a sole proprietor? Apart from registering a company in South Africa, if you are a sole proprietor, it is worth noting that you do not necessarily have to register your business online with CIPC. By implication, instead of pursuing sole proprietor registration CIPC, you should focus more on registering with SARS. This is because a sole proprietorship is not regarded as a legal entity and as such, the online company South Africa registration does not apply to you except for the standard legal and tax requirements.

The essence of registering with the South Africa Revenue Service (SARS) is because of tax returns. With the information that you will furnish SARS with while completing your sole proprietor registration form, you will have to include the necessary information relating to your income with the revenues made from the business to determine what you will pay as tax.

Once you have registered your private company or business, please bear in mind that record keeping is paramount for you. The essence of this is to help you to fulfil the Tax Administration Act requirements and also satisfy SARS that you comply with the requirements. How long do you have to keep business records in South Africa? You are expected to keep your records for five years, and this starts counting from the date that you submit your return until the last day of that period.

In conclusion, we have looked into the processes that are involved with how to register a company online. In it, we have established the fact that if you intend to run a private company, you have to inevitably register with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC). However, if you run a business as a sole proprietor, your concern is with the South African Revenue Services (SARS). Then, the steps to take and the documents that you need while registering online have all been discussed above.


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