How to Start a Nonprofit Organization in South Africa

Cersai Stark

Cersai Stark

There are crucial factors to consider when seeking how to start a nonprofit. One such is the law that governs the establishment of NGOs. In every nation, there is a governing principle for the formation of nonprofits.

In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to start a nonprofit in South Africa


How to start a nonprofit
How to start a nonprofit


  • The goal of a nonprofit is to serve the public, not to maximize profits
  • The South African Revenue Service (SARS) is responsible for handling all tax-exempt applications 
  • The name of a nonprofit can be reserved for six months in South Africa 


What are the guidelines on how to start a nonprofit in South Africa? 

Individuals that intend to officially incorporate their nonprofit in South Africa must understand that the registration process could take up to two months. Therefore, we will begin by breaking down the whole process.

1. Register with the CIPC

Firstly, you must register your organization with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) as a nonprofit company (NPC) to be recognized as a legal entity. An NGO can be registered as a Public Benefit Organization (PBO) or a Nonprofit Company.

By and large, NPCs are created to assist people, safeguard the environment, or advocate for a good cause. This may comprise churches, charitable organizations, and cultural institutions. Basically, an NPC’s main goal is to serve the public, not to maximize profits.

2. Reserve your nonprofit’s name

Secondly, fill out the Application Form CoR 9.1 to reserve your company name. On average, the duration of a name reservation is six months.

3. Pay a filing fee and submit supporting documents 

Among the documents for submission includes certified copies of designated directors. Also, individuals responsible for the incorporation of the organization must submit passports (if they are foreigners) or certified IDs (if they are South Africans). 

To clarify, a valid name reservation document is required if a name was reserved before the incorporation documents were filed. However, if a suggested name is rejected, the company may still be registered. In such case, its registration number will serve as its name until a suitable name has been reserved or approved.

4. Apply for tax exempt 

Upon registration, apply to the South African Revenue Service (SARS) for tax-exempt status. You must also submit supporting documents, such as the charter of your organization and the organization’s strategy among others. A nonprofit can begin to raise funds following registration and tax exemption.


Individuals seeking how to start a nonprofit can begin their journey by following this simple guide. In addition, several benefits come with registering an NGO. This includes access to more financial opportunities, tax incentives, and legal recognition among others. 

If you enjoyed reading this article, please share your comments and suggestions with us at the bottom of this post. 

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