Three government entities are firmly focused on enabling the ease of doing business in South Africa to grow the economy.
A recent VukTalks webinar, hosted by Government Communication and Information System, was held to raise awareness of the mandate, policies and services provided by the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), Companies Tribunal (CT) and the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Commission.
These are all entities of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition.
According to Ofentse Shakung, the CIPC’s Manager of Innovation and Collaboration and Director of E-learning, the CIPC has various functions, including the registration of companies, cooperatives and intellectual property rights (trademarks, patents, designs and copyright).
The CIPC developed its BizPortal platform to offer online company registration and related services to simplify the process of registering a business and adhering to requirements.
BizPortal offers those wanting to start a business a one-stop platform to register a company, register for tax, register a domain name, apply for a B-BBEE certificate, register for the Compensation Fund and Unemployment Insurance Fund, and open a business bank account.
“It’s a paperless process and the company will be registered within 24 hours of submission. We have also added Google business services, which enables companies to host a business profile and static company website on Google for free,” said Shakung.
To make use of these services, visit www.bizportal.gov.za and click on ‘register’ at the top of the page. The portal is easy to navigate and offers step-by-step information on how to register a business.
The CIPC also recently launched free online training platform Learn-i-Biz to help small, medium and micro enterprise directors and entrepreneurs build their capacity to run successful businesses, while ensuring they comply with the legal requirements.
“The platform is a digital study guide and includes video tutorials and a self-examination for each of the seven modules,” said Shakung.
The modules include training on what a company and a director is, key persons in a company, responsibilities of a director, personal financial interests and conflict of interest, remuneration of directors and distributions and the board of directors.
To register for the training, visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Mohammed Chicktay, the Chairperson of the CT, explained that the entity helps provide a speedy resolution in company disputes, relating to applications and complaints made in terms of the Companies Act No. 71 of 2008.
These include disputes relating to company names, directorship and exemption from establishing social and ethics committees. It also reviews compliance notices issued by the CIPC, relating to time extensions to prepare annual financial statements and convene annual general meetings.
“The CT deals with various applications. During COVID-19, for example, we received many applications for an extension of the date to convene an annual general meeting,” said Chicktay.
Another free service offered by the CT is dispute resolution. A person may refer a matter for resolution by mediation, conciliation or arbitration, as an alternative to going to court. The CT serves as a facilitator between the parties.
“The CT encourages mediation to save jobs, especially during COVID-19, and people should start using it more,” said Chicktay.
According to Lindiwe Madonsela, the B-BBEE Commission’s Senior Manager Compliance, the entity’s mandate is to oversee, supervise and promote adherence to the B-BBEE Act 46 of 2013.
It also investigates fronting practices; aims to increase knowledge and promote public awareness around B-BBEE, by implementing education and awareness measures; and provides guidance to the public.
Any person who suspects or is aware of a violation of the Act, such as where black people are used as fronts to achieve B-BBEE points, may lodge a complaint with the commission.
For an example, employees in an entity may be aware that the entity is practicing fronting by presenting black people as shareholders or executives, when they are not, Madonsela said.
For more information about the B-BBEE Commission, visit www.bbbeecommission.co.za.
For more information about the services offered by the CT, visit www.companiestribunal.org.za.