During the ongoing national lockdown, only businesses that provide so-called essential services are allowed to trade. However, in order to operate, those businesses must apply for an Essential Service Certificate from the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC).

In order to apply for such a certificate and register your business as an essential service you must complete the online application via BizPortal, an online platform developed by the CIPC. The application can be accessed via the following link:

https://bizportal.gov.za/essential_service.aspx

During the application process you will be required to provide the following information:

  1. Your business enterprise number;
  2. The essential service category that your business falls under, from the list provided;
  3. Your business ‘trading as’ name, if applicable;
  4. The number of employees working during the lockdown;
  5. Your business address; and
  6. Your business’ contact person’s full name and details (namely their ID number, email address and cellphone number).

It is crucial that your business falls under the category of essential services that you have selected, failing which your application will be regarded as fraudulent. Providing false information concerning your business is a criminal offence and will render you liable to prosecution.

Once you have provided the above information the CIPC will automatically provide you with a certificate confirming that your business is now registered as an essential service.

In addition, the Head of the Institution should fill out, sign and stamp Annexure C, a ‘Permit to Perform Essential Services’ and attach the form to your business’ letterhead. When travelling from their place of residence, your business’ employees must carry a copy of the CIPC Essential Service Certificate and a signed and stamped permit, as well as some form of identification.

Bear in mind that the list of defined essential services has been adapted and refined regularly, with three amendments published to date, and there is every possibility that the list could be extended in the future. It would therefore be prudent to keep an eye on it regularly and note any changes which may affect the type of service you are providing or wish to provide.

If you are in any doubt as to whether your business qualifies for an Essential Service Certificate, or should you require any assistance with the aforementioned process, please do not hesitate to contact us. For a nominal fee, we can complete the application for an Essential Service Certificate on your behalf.

Article by Neill Lang BSocSci LLB (UCT)
Candidate Attorney
Michael Matthews & Associates
neill@legalonline.co.za