NPO Registration Guide: how to register a nonprofit in South Africa


Starting up a nonprofit organisation (NPO) is a great idea but the registration process can be tricky of you do not know how to do it. 

So, decided to help our readers out by explaining how and where to register an NPO. 

Why register a NPO? 

1. It helps improve credibility , which in turn helps a person unlock funding opportunities

2. Registering the NPO allows the organisation to open a bank account

3. It also helps the NPO with tax incentives, the SA government’s website reported.

The three NPO categories

In order to register an organisation as an NPO, the establishment must fall under one of the following three categories: (As listed by

1. Non-governmental organisation (NGO)

2. Community-based organisation (CBO)

3. Faith-based organisation (FBO).

What do you need to register your NPO?

A completed NPO application form, along with copies of the organisation’s founding documents:

1. Deeds to the Trust, together with the court’s approval in the form of a letter

2. Section 21- Which described as a “Certificate of incorporation and memorandum and articles of association”

3. Voluntary Association

Where can you register a NPO?

The necessary documentation can be handed in at any provincial social development office. The department would sent a letter of acknowledgement once the application is received. 


Is there a chance that the application may be rejected? 

Yes, if the founding documents of the NPO does not meet the provisions of Section 12 (A-O) of the Nonprofit Organisations Act, 1997 (Act 71 of 1997), the application would be rejected. 

If, however, you are unsatisfied with the rejection, or cancellation, of the application, you can appeal to the panel arbitrators.

How long does it take?

It can take up to two months for an application to be processed. If the application meets all the requirements of a NPO the department would issue a registration certificate.

Once the NPO is registered, the organisation would have to submit an annual report nine months after its financial year-end.

The application to register a NPO can be found on the South African Government’s website.