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UPDATE (30 March 2020): The Minister of Trade, Industry and Economic Development Ebrahim Patel on Friday (27 March) said in a statement that the department has also extended the list of businesses which constitute an essential service and will be allowed to continue with limited operation during the 21-day national lockdown.
By Friday, a total of 50 000 companies employing 1.5 million workers had applied to register their companies as providers of essential services through an online platform and 40 000 certificates already awarded.
Nearly 15 000 companies have registered on the online Bizportal to provide essential services during South Africa’s national lockdown.
This announcement was made by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in a statement on Thursday.
“Nearly 15 000 companies have already registered as providers of essential goods and services. Most of these have been in food supply, medical and pharmaceutical services, and transport services,” said the department.
The department has introduced a portal on the website run by the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) to log company details only where companies comply with the regulations issued by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on Wednesday (25 March).
Companies can register on the CIPC’s Bizportal as essential service providers
This follows the earlier announcement that businesses that will be allowed to provide essential services during the 21-day national lockdown would be required to seek approval from the DTI.
Meanwhile, the department clarified that registration portal is only for registered companies operating in South Africa.
“Healthcare professionals registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa, sole proprietors who provide essential goods and services (like spaza shops), and small-scale farmers will not have to register through the Bizportal,” it said.
Only companies, spaza shops, healthcare professionals and farmers permitted in terms of the lockdown regulations will be allowed to continue operating through the period.
“Possession of a CIPC certificate does not constitute permission to operate during the lockdown.
“Companies must be guided by the regulation as to whether their business operations constitute essential services. Any misrepresentation of information is a criminal offence and will be prosecuted,” the department warned.
The system, it said, is running with full functionality.
It also asked companies to be patient through the registration process, as there are large volumes presently being experienced.
“No companies will be prejudiced by any delay in the system,” the department said.
This story originally appeared on the website of the government’s news agency SAnews.gov.za. See it here.
Featured image: Screen grab from Bizportal via YouTube