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Trade License Applications
Office Number : 0110426886
Paul Van Straaten : 0730739720 
Rechard Cossa : 0712141719 
Mandla Mlobeli : 0822207540

We will assit with Trade License Applications in:
Johannesburg Metro Council
Ekurhuleni Metro
Tshwane Metro

Applying for a trade license Google Us

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.

Do I need a 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:

  1. Health facilities: Health clinics, spas, saunas, and public baths as well as facilities that provide massage, laser, and ultraviolet treatments
  2. Food providers: Places that serve food, provide takeaways or transport meals, including hawkers who sell food  
  3. Entertainment facilities: These include cinemas, nightclubs, pool rooms and arcades, as well as a business that has three or more vending or slot machines
  4. Escort agencies
  5. Adult shops

Businesses excluded from requiring a trade license

According to the Business Act there are certain businesses from the list above that are excluded from needing a business license. These include:

  • A business which is conducted by the State or a local authority. 
  • A business which is conducted by a charitable, religious, educational, cultural or agricultural association, organisation or institution of a public nature, if all profits originating from the business are devoted entirely to the purposes of that organisation.
  • A business which is conducted by a social, sports or recreation club (non-proprietary club) that offers its members or sells food on the business premises
  • A business that prepares and sells meals in a private dwelling

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:

  • Residential zones: Such as single residential dwellings, group housing schemes or blocks of flats
  • Open space zones: These include public open spaces, parks, sports fields, cemeteries or private open spaces
  • Business and commercial zones: Such as shops or office blocks
  • Industrial zones: Factories, motor repair garages or warehouses
  • Government zones: Areas reserved for government buildings
  • Agricultural zones: Farms
  • Special use zones: For example petrol stations


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.

A certificate of acceptability

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.

Music rights

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.

Trade License

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