Starting an NGO (which is an abbreviation for Non-Governmental Organization) in South Africa requires choosing the type of NGO you want to start, preparing all relevant documents, and registering the NGO with the Department of Social Development.
The registration process is also very easy and straight to the point. It entails filling out a form and sending it alongside other requirements documents via post, email, or by hand to the Department concerned. In fact, registering an NGO in South Africa is quite easy. You have to ensure that you meet up with the relevant criteria.
How To Start An NGO In South Africa
Many will find that one of the significant steps in starting up an NGO is registering it with the government department responsible for that – in this case, it’s the Department of Social Development. But again, registering your NGO may be a major part of the startup process, but it is not all.
For your NGO to be successful and to make the registration process easy for you, there are other things that you have to put into consideration. Here are a few questions that you should consider providing answers to.
What Are The Goals Of The NGO?
Having a well-defined understanding of why you want to start up an organization will guide you on the type of NGO to start up and the values that will govern the NGO. When your goal is defined, moving forward will be easier, and getting others on board to understand your passion will be less difficult.
Who Do I Get On Board?
After defining the goal of the NGO, the next thing to do is look for people with a passion and get them on board. These people would be members of your NGO and can also be part of your board of directors.
What Is Our Memorandum?
The next thing you want to do is draft out a memorandum. This should contain the organization’s rules, ownership, and other legal details. You can seek the help of a lawyer to draft out a memorandum; this way, you will be sure of doing the right thing.
How Do I Register The NGO?
After defining your goals, getting others on board, and drafting out a memorandum, the next thing to do is to proceed to register the NGO. You can either do this online or offline. Keep reading to understand the different types of NGOs and how to go about the registration process in South Africa.
There Are Different Types Of NGO in South Africa
There are different types of non-governmental organizations in South Africa, and the goal you have defined for the NGO will determine the type of NGO it is. The different types of NGOs in South Africa include:
- Non-Profit Organization in terms of the NPO Act of 1997
- Faith-based organizations (FBOs)
- Organizations that have registered as Non-Profit Company (NPC) under the Company Act 61 of 1973
- Any other voluntary association or “associations of persons”
- Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) in terms of the Income Tax Act Read more:
- Community-based organizations (CBOs)
- Trusts that have registered with the Master of the High Court under the Trust Property Control Act 57 of 1988
Documents Required For Registering An NGO in South Africa
Whether you intend to register your NGO by post or by hand, there are essential documents that you must provide. These documents include:
- Deed of Trust or a letter of authorization from a court
- Section 21 – Certificate of incorporation and memorandum and articles of association
- Founding documents: It must meet the provisions of Section 12 (A-O) of the Nonprofit Organisations Act, 1997 (Act 71 of 1997).
- Voluntary Association – Constitution
Please note that failure to provide all of these documents as requested may result in your rejection of your application.
How To Register An NGO in South Africa
As good as a person’s intention for starting an NGO may be, it is a crime to run an illegal NGO, and this is why registering your NGO is crucial. You don’t want your passion for helping others to become a problem for you. According to NPO Act Section 1, all NGOs in South Africa must be registered for the following reasons:
- Registering your NGO helps to improve its funding opportunities and credibility
- It enables the NGO to open a bank account
- Registration helped the organization with tax incentives
Here is how to go about your registration process:
Download and fill out the NGO Registration Form
Submit your application
Submit all the required documents to the nearest provincial Social Development office. You can also post your application to The Directorate, Non-Profit Organisations, Department of Social Development, Private Bag X901, Pretoria, 0001. Alternatively, deliver it personally to the Department of Social Development, 134 Pretorius Street, HSRC Building, Pretoria.
Wait for a response from the Department
Once your application has been received, you will receive a letter of acknowledgment from the Department of Social Development.
Issuance Of Certificate
If your application passes all of the Department of Social Development’s requirements, a registration certificate in your NGOs name will be issued to you.
However, if you fail to meet the requirement, your application will be rejected. If a certificate is issued to you and the department finally is dissatisfied with your NGO, your certificate can be canceled. If you are not pleased with the department’s decision to reject your application or cancel your certificate, you can appeal to the panel arbitrators.
Please note that if you are yet to register your NGO, it is a crime for you to operate your NGO with the disguise of it being registered as a non-profit organization.
How Long Does It Take to Register An NGO In South Africa?
NGO registration in South Africa takes about two months. As such, you have to exercise patience. To avoid extending the registration process, it is advised that you prepare your documents based on the Department’s standards and requirements.
How Much Does NGO Registration Cost In South Africa?
NGO registration in South Africa is free and does not cost anything.
Can You Do NGO Registration Online?
Yes, you can register your NGO online. You can download the application form online and, after filling it out, send it and other required documents via email to [email protected].
Alternatively, you can post your application via the post office to The Directorate, Non-profit organizations, Department of Social Development, Private Bag X901, Pretoria, 0001.