As the lockdown continues many businesses and companies are wondering how they can qualify to provide an essential service and what steps they should take.
The national government has classified essential services as something that directly involves providing either needed medical care or basic needs to the community at large. These include health workers, those involved in the grocery stores and essential food provision and some transport providers such as taxi drivers.
A number of businesses have since been granted permission to operate under lockdown as they offer a necessary service.
The official Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) website states that only the companies that fall under the following service categories will be considered for an essential services certificate:
-Health, Medical and Laboratory services
-Emergency services, Disaster, Fire, EMS
-Finance, Banking, JSE/exchangers, insurance
-Production and sale Category A regulations goods
-Grocery stores, Spaza shops
-Electricity, water, gas, fuel supply and maintain
-Care services, social relief of distressed
-Funeral service, mortuaries
-Wildlife, anti-poaching, animal care, veterinary
-Newspaper, broadcasting, telecommunications
-Hygiene chemicals, medical, pharmaceutical
-Cleaning, sanitation, sewerage, waste removal
-Postal, courier, transport of medical products
-Private security services
-Air-traffic, Civil Aviation, Cargo Shipping
-Essential mining, Gold, gold refinery, coal
-Hotels, Accommodation, quarantine and isolation
– Supply, critical repair on essential service
-Transport essential staff, good and patients
-Tow trucks, vehicle recovery
-Call Centre for health safety social support
-Harvest and storage agricultural goods
How to apply for an essential services certificate for your business
If you wish to trade as an essential service provider, you will need permission from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition according to the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Ebrahim Patel.
Business owners can 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.
Essentially it is up to the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission to decide whether the business qualifies to offer essential services during lockdown. Follow this simple application process and you will be told if your company qualifies.