Application for Essential Services during the Lockdown Period

Written by:

Pierre Scheepers

Pierre Scheepers

GreatSoft Payroll Product Manager
COVID-19

Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel on Wednesday announced that businesses can apply for required certification via the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission’s Bizportal website (bizportal.gov.za/) from 26 March 2020.

It is an automatic electronic process and certification will be made available instantly. A physical certificate will also be issued on the same website.

Please note that registration on the http://www.bizportal.gov.za portal is not obligatory, nor legally binding. It is just meant to assist where you are stopped at roadblocks, etc.

The portal is currently experiencing technical difficulties, employers are therefore advised to rather concentrate on the permit letters for the movement of essential workers, as well as for your essential distribution and logistics services.

In order to assist companies who need to register, Fin24 published the steps that must be followed, according to the DTI. The steps are provided below and can also be accessed on the Fin24 website:https://www.fin24.com/Economy/lockdown-step-by-step-guide-to-registering-your-business-as-an-essential-service-20200326

  1. Go to the Bizportal website at https://bizportal.gov.za/.
  2. After clicking on the Services tab, on the top right of the page, you will be taken to a new page with icons. The icon you want to click on next is the Covid-19 essential services icon – which is bright red.
  3. Once you click on this Covid-19 essential services icon, you will be taken to another page where you will be able to make an application to the CIPC. The page includes a list of essential services. Scroll down to the bottom where you will find the application icon.
  4. According to the DTI, the application will be a “simple declaration”, requiring minimal registration details, including this such as the type of business/trade, trading name, whether it meets the requirements contained in the essential services list. The list of essential services is available on the website too.
  5. The person applying must fill out their contact details, as well as the number of employees that will be working during the lockdown period. The CIPC registry will then pre-populate the remaining company information.
  6. A certificate stating that the business is allowed to remain trading will be emailed or can be downloaded from the site.
  7. The certificate can then be used as evidence to authorities – to show the business has been given government permission to trade, according to the DTI. The business’s employees will have unrestricted movement, only in the course of the trade.

“It should be stressed and noted that if you make a false application to the CIPC, and are indeed not an essential service as per the government regulations, such will be taken as a fraudulent application and will render yourself as applicant liable to criminal prosecution and sanction,” the DTI warned.

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