All businesses allowed to trade as essential services during the nationwide lockdown will be required to seek approval from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition according to the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Ebrahim Patel.

This is in line with the terms of the regulations published yesterday [March 25] by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Ms Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in Regulation Gazette No. 11062.

Businesses will be required to apply on the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) Bizportal website at www.bizportal.gov.za and obtain a certificate from the Commission that allows them to continue trading. The Bizportal website will contain a menu icon listed as “Essential Service Businesses” through which an application can be made to the CIPC.

The application process is simple and requires a declaration along with minimal registration details involving your company. Contact details of the person applying will be required as well as the number of employees that fall under the business and will be working during the lockdown period.

The CIPC registry will then pre-populate the remaining company information and email a certificate stating that the business is allowed to remain trading.

Following a successful application process, the certificate issued can be used as evidence for authorities to show that the business has been given permission by the government to trade. This will also allow employees the ability to move unrestricted within the course of that trade.

It is important to note that any false applications made that are not essential services as per government regulations will be taken as fraudulent applications, rendering the applicant liable for criminal prosecution and sanction.

This service will be available today [March 26, 2020] at the start of business trading hours.

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