How To Start An NGO In South Africa

By | October 29, 2021

A non-governmental organization (NGO) is a non-profit company is a company incorporated for public benefit or other object relating to one or more cultural or social activities, or communal or group interest.

The income and property of a non-profit company is not distributable to its incorporators, members, directors, officers or persons relating to any of them and must be used to advance the purpose for which it was created, as set out in its MOI.

A non-profit company must have at least three incorporators and three directors and may be registered with or without members. A non-profit company is not required to have members. The members of a non-profit company are persons who participate in the activities of the non-profit company, such as members of a church or a pension fund.

Non-profit companies registered without members, may be registered with a standard or a customized Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI).

If you wish to receive grants or donor-funding, you are required to register with the Department of Social Development.  Non-profit companies registered with the Department of Social Development can apply for funding at the National Lottery Board.

How To Register a nonprofit organisation In South Africa.

If yours is a non-profit organisation and is not part of government, you can apply for registration. You can submit your non-profit organisation (NPO) application at your nearest provincial  social development office.

NPOs include trusts, companies or other associations of persons established for a public purpose.

Registering your NPO is beneficial because its certificate:

  • improves your credibility and funding opportunities
  • allows your organisation to open a bank account
  • helps your organisation with tax incentives.

To register, you must be one of the following:

  • non-governmental organisation (NGO)
  • community-based organisation (CBO)
  • faith-based organisation (FBO).

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:
    • Trust – Deeds of trust and letter of authorisation from the courts
    • Section 21 – Certificate of incorporation and memorandum and articles of association
    • Voluntary Association – Constitution
    • 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.
      • You can submit your application 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.
  2. If you are dissatisfied with the rejection or cancellation of your organisation’s certificate, you may launch an appeal to the panel arbitrators .
  3. 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 and a financial report.

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

Timeframe

  • 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

Application for registration by a Non-profit organisation

Who to contact

Department of Social Development provincial offices contact list.