1. How to register a NPO

    What is a non-profit organisation

    Non-profit organisations (NPOs) do not exist to make a profit from the work of the organisation for the office-bearers or members of the organisation. They exist to serve some public purpose rather than just serving the personal interests of the office-bearers or members of the organisation.

    They exist for the benefit of the general public or specific sections of the public. If members receive payment or benefits, it is only in the form of a reasonable salary and benefits in return for the work that is done as an employee…

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    About registering a nonprofit organisation

    Registering your non-profit organisation is beneficial because it improves your credibility and funding opportunities. If yours is a non-profit organisation and is not part of government, you can apply for registration.

    To register your NPO you’ll need the following documents:

    • A founding document /constitution. Here's a checklist to help you formulate your organisation's constitution.
    • A deed of trust (a written agreement used by trusts).
    • The memorandum and articles of association (which set out the mission of your NPO and monitors its growth).

    You can apply for registration in 2 ways:

    1. Register online.
    2. Post your application form and 2 copies of your NPO founding documents (constitution or deed of trust, and memorandum and articles of association).

      NPO Directorate
      Department of Social Development
      Private Bag X901

      or hand-deliver them to:

      NPO Directorate
      HSRC Building
      134 Pretorius Street

      You can contact the NPO Directorate on: 012 312 7500
      Email: NPOenquiry@dsd.gov.za

    What you should do

    1. Submit the completed NPO application form at your nearest provincial social development office together with two copies of the organisation’s founding documents:
    2. Trust – Deeds of trust and letter of authorisation from the courts
    3. Section 21 – Certificate of incorporation and memorandum and articles of association
    4. Voluntary Association – Constitution
    5. The founding documents of the NPO must meet the provisions of Section 12 (A-O) of the Nonprofit Organisations Act, 1997 (Act 71 of 1997). If you fail to do that, your application will be rejected.
    6. You can submit your application online or at your nearest provincial Social Development office, post it to The Directorate, Non-profit organisations, Department of Social Development, Private Bag X901, Pretoria, 0001 or deliver it by hand to the Department of Social Development, 134 Pretorius Street, HSRC Building, Pretoria.
    7. If you are dissatisfied with the rejection or cancellation of your organisation’s certificate, you may launch an appeal to the panel arbitrators.
    8. Once it is registered, you must submit the organisation's annual report nine months after its financial year-end. The annual report should consist of a narrative report [Narrative Report.pdf] and a financial report which can also be filed online.


    It is a criminal offence for an organisation to operate under the pretense of a registered NPO. Various government departments offer funding for various services.


    It may take approximately two months to process the entire registration. Once your application has been received, the department will send you an acknowledgement letter. A registration certificate will be issued if your application meets the requirements of the Nonprofit Organisations Act, 1997.

    How much does it cost?

    The service is free.

    Forms to complete

    Source: Gov.co.za May-19

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