Starting a business in South Africa
Due to relatively recent political and economic developments in South Africa, the country presents a glorious opportunity for entrepreneurial investment. With a globalising, developing economy and a serious government infrastructure drive, now would be a very good time to implement business plans in South Africa. However, there are certain factors to be taken into account when attempting to do business in South Africa.
The first issue is company registration. In order to do business in South Africa, one needs to register the enterprise officially as a company with the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (CIPRO). The only time that you would not have to register the company is in the case of a sole proprietor (a business owned entirely by one person that operates more or less informally) or a partnership (essentially the same as a sole proprietorship, but with several owners).
Usually, a company in South Africa is registered as a Closed Corporation (CC) or a private company (Pty Ltd). However, CCs are being phased out, so if you want to make use of this form of company registration, you have limited time to do so. A CC is usually a smaller company that has several owning members, each of whom have a percentage stake in the business. If the business fails, members are not personally liable for business debts, unless they have traded irresponsibly. A Pty Ltd is typically a larger company that has several directors and shareholders, and is also required to have its financial statements audited on an annual basis. Ultimately, the type of company registration that you choose is going to depend on the size and nature of your proposed venture.
Besides registering the business, you will also need to register with the South African Revenue Service (SARS) for tax purposes, and you will need to open a company bank account, for which the bank will need to see the official company registration documents.