Companies, which are registered through the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission’s (CIPC) BizPortal to perform essential services during the lockdown period, will be required to have a new certificate from the BizPortal website for the extended period, which begins today (17 April 2020).
According to a media statement issued by government last night, the certificate will be sent via email using the details provided at the time of registration, and will also be available for download. Companies will receive the certificates from today and the full list of registered companies will have received their certificates by the weekend.
The new certificate will clearly state that it is for the extended lockdown period, beginning 17 April 2020, and South African Police Service officials will be told which certificates to look for.
Certificates issued before 16 April 2020 will no longer be valid and must be disposed of. To provide time for businesses to adjust to the new requirements, the new certificates will be available to be displayed from start of business on Monday, 20 April 2020.
The department reminds the public that possession of the CIPC certificate is still subject to the company fully complying with the applicable Lockdown Regulations and is a record of the company’s details, and does not in itself constitute the right to continue operating during the period.
Only businesses which provide essential services in terms of the Lockdown Regulations, as amended, issued by the Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs may continue their operations during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The CIPC certificate is a reference to the legal registration of the company in terms of the Companies Act, 2008 (Act No. 71 of 2008) and a record of registration to the CIPC. It does not give a firm or individual a right to trade if that company does not fall into an Essential Service as defined in the Lockdown Regulations.
The Department clarifies that the registration portal is only for companies registered in terms of the Companies Act. Other essential service providers, like healthcare professionals registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa, sole proprietors who provide essential goods and services (like small business owners and spaza shops), and small-scale farmers will not register through the Bizportal. These businesses will not have a CIPC certificate, but must still comply with the provisions of the lockdown regulations.
Where the CIPC finds that certificates have been issued to companies which do not meet the definitions of an essential service, such certificate will be revoked, and the company will be referred to the South African Police Services. False declaration by the company is a criminal offence and will result in prosecution, in terms of Lockdown Regulations.
The regulations for the extended lockdown have also clarified that the transportation of liquor is prohibited, except where alcohol is required for industries producing hand sanitisers, disinfectants, soap, alcohol for industrial use and household cleaning products.
To confirm if your business complies, please consult the necessary regulation at https://www.gov.za/documents/disaster-management-act-regulations-address-prevent-and-combat-spread-coronavirus-covid-19