New CIPC certification process for essential service businesses during extended Covid-19 lockdown now under way
Pretoria - Companies registered through the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission's (CIPC) BizPortal to perform essential services during the coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown period are required to have a new certificate from the BizPortal website for the extended period, which started on April 17, the trade and industry department (dti) said on Sunday.
The certificate would be sent via email using the details provided at the time of registration, and were also available for download from April 17, the dti said in a statement.
Companies would receive the certificates from April 17 and the full list of registered companies would have received their certificates by the weekend, the dti said.
The new certificate would clearly state that it was for the extended lockdown period, beginning 17 April, and South African Police Service (SAPS) officials would be told which certificates to look for.
Certificates issued before April 17 would no longer be valid and had to be disposed of. To provide time for businesses to adjust to the new requirements, the new certificates would be available to be displayed from start of business on Monday, April 20.
"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," the dti said.
Only businesses which provided 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 was a reference to the legal registration of the company in terms of the Companies Act, and a record of registration to the CIPC. It did not give a firm or individual a right to trade if that company did not fall in an essential service category as defined in the lockdown regulations.
The dti clarified that the registration portal was only for companies registered in terms of the Companies Act. Other essential service providers, such as healthcare professionals registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa, sole proprietors who provided essential goods and services (small business owners and spaza shops), and small-scale farmers would not register through the Bizportal. These businesses would not have a CIPC certificate, but still had to comply with the provisions of the lockdown regulations, the dti said.
"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 Service. 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," the dti said.