The Company and Intellectual Property Commission also know as CIPC is the government Department responsible for company registrations in South Africa. The CIPC head office is based in Sunnyside Pretoria in the opulent DTI campus. CIPC has recently opened several self-help terminals across South Africa to assist the public with company registrations. Despite best efforts of CIPC and their continued digitisation strategy many customers prefer not to deal with the government as nobody takes any responsibility. This could be as a result of the staff ranks being filled with cadre deployment. The call center number is not functional, and email enquiries go unanswered. It is all fine and well to deal with CIPC until such time as something goes wrong with your company registration; for example, if your company name is rejected, or the documents are lost, or information is captured incorrectly. For these and other reasons people prefer to deal with companies which are easily accessible, who take responsibility and are willing to help.
To register a company with CIPC you must start by registering as a customer and deposit sufficient funds into their account. Only once the funds are cleared and reflect in the CIPC account can you begin with your company registration. This delay can take up to 2 days and frustrates many customers to the point of not wanting to deal with CIPC. Sadly, CIPC stopped using credit card payments due to the huge amount of fraud they experienced. CIPC were unwilling to prosecute the offenders despite having the company information at hand. This resulted in there being no instant solution when applying to CIPC to register your company and the rise in professional registration companies to meet the demand.
Since the introduction of the New Companies Act no more new Close Corporations can be registered. The bulk of all new company registrations are (Pty) Ltd. This is followed by Non-Profit Companies and then Incorporations. NPO and Trust are not registered with CIPC but with the Department of Welfare and the Master of the Court respectively. Partnership and Sole Proprietors are not registered legal entities and therefore also not registered with CIPC.
To register your company directly with CIPC is slightly cheaper than using a professional company registration business; other than that, there is no benefit. This is because CIPC does not issue share certificates. This is fundamental floor in the CIPC registration process as banks want to know who the owner of the company is. To register a bank ready company is with all the supporting documents to open a bank account it is better dealing with a professional company registration business. The next problem regarding CIPC is the fact that they do not offer an instant payment solution as they stopped all credit card payments for new company registrations. Don’t lose your documents as you will be in trouble. CIPC does not have a free document storage and retrieval service such as SwiftReg. As mention earlier almost nobody at CIPC takes responsibility so if you encounter delays in the process you are on your own. The CIPC call center number is not supported and the emails are not answered. The ticketing system has improved queries but they do not manage the queries in date order which frustrates the users.
According to CIPC own first quarter 2017 statistics more than 82% of all calls were abandoned. Yes they did improve, but is the acceptable bearing in mind they have a budget of many tens of million of Rands. This is yet another example of why the public continue to deal with professional company registration firms. It is sad that this is allowed to happen as some managers implementing the system have good intentions, but in reality the call centre disappoints.
CIPC have a notoriously poor reputation when it comes to dealing with their ticketing systems. The response times often exceed ten days and more before the query is attended to. This is because CIPC does not manage the queries in date order, but rather lets each department resolve their own queries randomly. I am sure that in time CIPC will correct this inefficiency. At the time of writing this article conversions from CC’s to Pty’s and Pty’s to Incorporations remain a manual application. This means that the CIPC staff recapture the data which leads to errors. Most manual application take more than 4 weeks to complete. Adoption to the new MOI, customised MOI and manual name reservations for similar name such as franchises also remain manual applications. CIPC will need to find a solution with Home Affairs regarding surnames that differ due to marriages as this also leads to frustratingly long delays as the clients now have to deal with two different government departments. CC name changes and object change are also still manual application taking 4 weeks or longer to complete.
CIPC is gradually doing away with manual applications and therefore fewer manual forms are required. In certain cases, a manual application forms are still required especially if there is a similar proposed name such a franchise. For example, if you have a company called Nando’s Goodwood and you would like to register Nando’s Millerton you would need written permission from the franchise holder for CIPC to approve the name. The manual application form is a Cor 9.1. When CIPC approves the name the returning digital result is call a CoR 9.4. If the name is rejected then the form is called a CoR 9.5. You would then have to submit new names again in the hope of getting your names approved. Each application cost R75. The next form is the Cor 15.1A also known as the Memorandum of Incorporation and the Notice of Incorporation Cor 14.1 and copies of your ID.
CIPC has a name searching facility on their website. The reason the search is not 100 percent accurate would be because the names are only searched on their database. They may only say it’s available if it is not exactly the same as an already registered company. You could submit a name that is slightly similar and it could be rejected or approved. There could also be a company trading as a name, meaning it won’t actually be free but on the CIPC database it would be. SwiftReg always says, the best way to test a name would be to actually submit it and await the response from CIPC. Be as descriptive and creative as possible as the name cannot be the same as any other registered company.
CIPC has recently updated their website for a more user friendly experience. They have simplified the steps in each process, but if you are not fully informed on requirements or documents you may struggle with the process. This is why SwiftReg assists with most applications on CIPC. If you use the website yourself, you will need to create a customer code and deposit money into their account which will reflect on your profile. This has to be done before any actual work can be processed. You need to be clued up on each process before making any changes or new company registrations because if a mistake is made, it could be difficult to rectify it. CIPC does have a call centre, but its extremely difficult to get through to them. They have a ticketing system but this can also take time to receive an answer.
You would first need to reserve a name. This will cost you R50 for each application made; assuming the first four names that are submitted and one is successfully approved. Once the name is approved and you have the CoR 9.4 then you can apply for the registration. The registration will cost you R125 if it is for a private company and R475 if it is for a non profit company. There are five types of companies that can be registered on CIPC. The amount will first need to be deposited into their account and reflect on your profile before you can make any submission, otherwise the application will be kicked out and you will need to re do it.
The documents needed to register a company with CIPC would be identification; they only accept valid ID documents, both sides of the smart card ID or passport. No other documents are accepted, being a temporary ID or an asylum seeker document. Then, you will also need to sign the digital document provided after you submit the registration online. When you receive this digital document you will compile the Cor9.4 (name approval document), ID or passports for all directors (they also need to be certified) and the stamped and signed digital document. If someone does the registration on your behalf you will need to sign a power of attorney which allows them to do the registration. The requirements will stay the same, but they will need to attach the power of attorney, which must be certified as well as a copy of their ID, also certified. If any of these documents are missing your application will be rejected.
The time taken to register a company with CIPC seems to change from here to there. It all depends on if there is any back log with CIPC. They should process all applications in date order but this is not always the case. Currently names are taking about one to seven business days, as soon as you receive the name and submit for registration it can also take one to seven business days, anywhere in between. SwiftReg is receiving companies back that have been submitted on the same day. We just would not be able to advertise this as it can change at any time so we rather give you a day to about seven days grace for the entire process to be done. We also issue share certificates, which CIPC does not do. CIPC only works with directors but the amount of shares issued is on your final documents in the MOI section of the paperwork. They have no further communication for shareholders. Shareholders own the company, without this the company would not be trading correctly and no one would know who the owners are.
There are two ways to make contact with CIPC. If you have a profile on their website you can lodge a ticket, should you have any queries on your application or there is an error or wrongful rejection. You can also contact their call centre on 086 100 2472. There is an office in Cape Town called DTI which can also assist, or visit their offices in Pretoria. Getting through to their call centre can be a trial and you may need to hold for quite some time, this is why it’s best to have SwiftReg assist on any company registration matters, to reduce the stress and hassle of the entire process.
In order to pay your account, you will first need to visit the CIPC website. The web address is www.cipc.co.za. You will then need to log in using your customer code and password. If you do not have one, you will need to create one. There is a button called additional services which you will need to click on. Once here, on the left side of the menu there is a button called customer transactions, click this. You can then download your statement from this section of the website.
You will firstly need all annual returns owed to CIPC to be up to date. Annual returns are the fees once a year, after the date of registration that needs to be paid in order to keep the status of the company active. Once this is done, you can apply for the director change with CIPC. If you have a log in, log into the website. There needs to be a balance in your account first. Then go to online transacting then on company director changes. Once logged in, you can click on amend company director details, all current information on the company will be listed here, being the current directors details. Here you can appoint or remove directors. You can follow the prompts from here, indicating if there are any new directors or not or if any current directors will be removed. You will need to confirm that the director details are correct as well. Once all the information is confirmed, you can click lodge. You will receive the CoR 39 which will need to be signed by an authorized director or secretary. You will then scan and email the ID documents, resolution, minutes and mandate by the company if there is a third party submitting on your behalf to eServicesCOR39@cipc.co.za. It will take about five days for this process to be complete.
CIPC and Home Affairs do share information. As soon as an ID number is added to the website, it will show the person’s name and surname. If the person has been recently married, it will probably still show the maiden surname as CIPC and Home Affairs can take some time to both update their systems. The married person will need to have applied for the new ID, received the new ID (not temporary ID) then you can submit for registration. It will be on the old surname, but then you can apply for a director change to fix this. Alternatively, you can wait until the surname is reflecting correctly, we have noticed this does take some time and you are not notified. Home Affairs also “tells” CIPC if a person is blacklisted, they will not be able to be a director on a company registration if this is the case, the system will not let you click on next.