How to register as an essential service to operate during the National Lockdown

In light of the current and expected impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, President Cyril Ramaphosa called for a 21-day lockdown where all South African will be confined to their homes and only be able to leave their homes under certain exceptional circumstances.

The National Lockdown has resulted in several businesses across industries to shut down completely while others continue to operate remotely. However, certain organisations will be able to continue their operations if they meet the requirements of an essential service which was listed by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel. These organisations include:

  • Health, Medical, Laboratory and medical services
  • Emergency services, Disaster, Fire, EMS
  • Finance, Banking, JSE/exchangers, insurance
  • Production and sale Category A regulations goods
  • Grocery stores, Spaza shops
  • Electricity, water, gas, fuel supply and maintain
  • Care services, social relief of distressed
  • Funeral service, mortuaries
  • Wildlife, anti-poaching, animal care, veterinary
  • Newspaper, broadcasting, telecommunications
  • Hygiene chemicals, medical, pharmaceutical
  • Cleaning, sanitation, sewerage, waste removal
  • Postal, courier, transport of medical products
  • Private security services
  • Air-traffic, Civil Aviation, Cargo Shipping
  • Essential mining, Gold, gold refinery, coal
  • Hotels, Accommodation, quarantine and isolation
  • Supply, critical repair on essential service
  • Transport essential staff, good and patients
  • Tow trucks, vehicle recovery
  • Call Centre for health safety social support
  • Harvest and storage agricultural goods

According to Minister Patel, businesses that fall under these service categories are required to apply to the Companies Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) via the Bizportal website and obtain a certificate that will allow them to continue operating. Once the submission is completed and approved, a certificate will be emailed to the enterprise. Alternatively, the certificate can be downloaded directly from the website. The employees of approved essential services are required to carry these issued certificates with them at all times while they continue to work. 

How to go about registration:

Step 1. Visit the Bizportal website at http://www.bizportal.gov.za/

Step 2. Click on the “SERVICES” icon in the top, right-hand corner of the page

Step 3. Click on the “COVID-19 Essential Services” icon

Step 4. Ensure that your business falls under one of the essential service categories listed

Step 5. Click on the “New Application” icon

Step 6. You will then be requested to type in your enterprise number. If you have a registered company or closed corporation you will be required to include a portion of your registration number. If your company’s registration number is 1900/123456/07, the enterprise number which you will enter will either be M1900123456 or K1900123456. If you are registered as a closed corporation with a registration number of 1900/123456/07, the number which you will enter will be B1900123456.

The company information will be prepopulated based on the CIPC registry. You will then be required to complete information relating to your business where applicable such as the type of business/trade it is, what trading name is used, whether it meets the requirements contained in the list of the essential services, the contact details of the person applying and the number of employees that will be working during the lockdown period.

The website clearly warns all applicants that they need to ensure that the business they are registering falls under the list of essential services that can trade during the National Lockdown. Additionally, the website warns applicants that supplying incorrect or inaccurate information is a criminal offense that will lead to prosecution.

It is therefore strongly advised that directors and owners are confident that they meet the criteria before completing the application. Directors and owners should also complete applications themselves and not through an authorised representative to ensure their information is accurate.

If you need any help with the application process, please contact your Mazars Engagement Partner.