How to Set up a Charity Organisation in South Africa

According to the Department of Social Development in South Africa, an NPO (Non-Profit Organisation) is defined, in terms of section 1 of the NPO Act, as a trust, company or other association of persons established for a public purpose and of which its income and property are not distributable to its members or office bearers except as reasonable compensation for services rendered. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community based organisations (CBOs) are collectively known as Non-Profit organisations (NPOs).If you are looking to register your own NPO in South Africa, here are a few guidelines on how to get it done:

  • Fill in the prescribed application form and submit it to the Directorate for NPOs with two copies of the organisation’s founding document (e.g. constitution). The founding document of the organisation must meet the requirements of section 12 of the NPO Act.
  • Provide any other additional information requested by the Directorate.
  • If all is in order then the organisation will be registered within two months of receiving all the correct documents.
  • The registration certificate and a certified copy of the organisation’s constitution will be posted by registered mail to the postal address as given on the application form.
  • Once the organisation is complete, the organisation’s name and registration number is added to the list of Register of Nonprofit Organisations.
  • You’ll be required to keep and submit detailed accounting records and reports.

You can choose to either complete this process online or by sending all documents vial mail.  You will also only be able to open a bank account for your organisation once registration is complete and you have received your certificate. In South Africa, unfortunately, the process may take longer due to a backlog at the CIPC. Make considerations for this.


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