If you are starting a business you may need to submit a business license application before you can start to trade.
Certain businesses require a trade license before they can commence operations in South Africa. If you are starting a new business it is best to check whether your business needs a business license before it can trade.
If you have purchased an existing business the trade licenses cannot be transferred to you or to other premises, rather you will have to apply for a new business license.
The Business Act 71 of 1991 governs which businesses need a trade license. Although not all businesses require one, there are certain types of business which may not trade without a proper business licensing:
According to the Business Act there are certain businesses from the list above that are excluded from needing a business license. These include:
If your business is not included in the Business Act for requiring a trade license then you do not have to apply for one.
Zoning regulations are laws defining how you can use your property. Check your title deed to see whether or not your property qualifies for the relevant business rights.
Once you have determined the zoning of your property your next step is to visit the Town Planner responsible for your area. The Town Planner will let you know whether you need to apply for consent use or the re-zoning of your property.
Common land-use or zoning categories include:
If your business serves food or drink to the public you will have to comply with laws that make sure your food is safe for consumption.
Regulations generally differ from area to area so to find out exactly what you need to do for your business, contact your local municipality and enquire about how to comply.
If your business is involved in the provision of food then you are required to have a ‘Certificate of Acceptability’. Until such time as you have the necessary certificate no person on your premises may handle food. If you are found to be preparing and selling food without the certificate then you may be liable to a fine.
The Certificate of Acceptability must be in the name of a natural person who is responsible for the food premises, or the owner of the food premises. The Certificate of Acceptability is not transferable from one person to another or from one premises to another.
If you are going to be playing music from your premises even in the background, then must apply for a license from The Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO), as well as a license from The South African Music Performance Rights Association (SAMPRA).
You will have to apply for two separate licenses as they are separate divisions. SAMRO is responsible for the copyright in a song (the music and lyrics), whereas SAMPRA covers the copyright in the recorded version of a song.
Once you have applied for licenses from both of these organisations you can then apply to the South African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) for music rights.
Be legal and compliant in all spheres of your business.
Don't get caught off-guard.