Business 101: How to start a business in South Africa?

Have an Idea.

Do you have a business idea and you’re ready to start trading? There is a process to undergo before you can be called a legal entity in South Africa. With the unemployment rate at 29%, starting a business is becoming a common way of surviving in South Africa.


Having the right business documents shouldn’t cost you thousands as it is portrayed by many agencies and most frequently scammers. In fact, you can have all the right documents for your business within just three days and having not paid more than a thousand rand for them all.

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We have compiled a list of some important must-have documents to run a formally registered business

  • Registering Your Business – You first need to register your business name with the South African government, through the Department of Trade and Industry (DIT). The DTI agency that is responsible for business registrations is the Companies And Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC). To speed up your business registration process, use their website to create an account and register online.

You will need the following to register your business

  1. R170 for a Pty Ltd business. (R50 for name reservation and R120 for name registration after it is approved)
  2. Business Name – (At least 4 different names to be submitted). Do your research before submitting a name. A unique name is always good to perfectly brand your business.
  3. ID Copy/Passport – A recently certified copy of your ID book, Smart ID card or your Passport.
  4. Director(s) details of all the persons who will be listed as director(s)
  • SARS TAX Clearance– Importantly, after registering your business, make sure you apply for your business tax clearance certificate with the South African Revenue Service (SARS). You could also apply for your tax clearance certificate online at or alternatively, visit their branches nearest to you. The process is free of charge on your first application. You will need your ID/Passport, Business registration papers that you will have received from CIPC and your proof of address (Water/Electricity bill from the municipality/confirmation letter from the local council.


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