In a statement released on Thursday just before the start of the 21-day lockdown, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said nearly 15,000 companies have already registered as providers of essential goods and services. Most of these have been in food supply, medical and pharmaceutical services and transport services.
“We will provide further updates on communication platforms as to the number of registered businesses during the lockdown period,” says the statement.
DTI has introduced a portal at the website run by the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) to log company details only where companies comply with the regulations issued by the Minister for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on 25 March 2020 in Government Notice 398 of Government Gazette No. 43148 (“lockdown regulations”).
The website can be found at www.bizportal.gov.za
“We would like to clarify that the registration portal is only for registered companies operating in South Africa. Healthcare professionals registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa, sole proprietors who provide essential goods and services (like spaza shops), and small-scale farmers will not have to register through the Bizportal.
“Only companies, spaza shops, healthcare professionals and farmers permitted in terms of the lockdown regulations will be allowed to continue operating through the period. Possession of a CIPC certificate does not constitute permission to operate during the lockdown. Companies must be guided by the regulation as to whether their business operations constitute essential services. Any misrepresentation of information is a criminal offence and will be prosecuted. Already we have seen companies selling on-premise consumption of alcohol registering through the platform. Other examples include non-essential grooming for pets. We will advise these companies that this is not permitted, and may take further action if required.
“The system is currently running with full functionality. We ask that companies be patient through the registration process, as there are large volumes presently being experienced. No companies will be prejudiced by any delay in the system. The service will continue to run tomorrow and beyond and it is not a requirement that companies complete registration before the lockdown begins.”