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Wednesday, 01 October 2008

All You need to Know About the Registration of an Non-Profit Organisation (NPO)

The Nonprofit Organisations Act 71 of 1997

The NPO Directorate within the Department of Social Development registers organisations under the Nonprofit Organisations Act No.71 of 1997. The Primary Purpose of this Act is to encourage and support organisations in a wide range of work they do by:

  • creating an enabling environment for NPOs to flourished.
  • setting and maintaining adequate standards of governance, accountability and transparency.




The Act provides a voluntary registration facility for NPOs.

What is an NPO?

A Nonprofit Organisation is defined as: a trust, company or other association of persons:- (a) established for a public purpose, and (b) the income and property of which are not distributable to its members or office bearers except as reasonable compensation for services rendered.

Which Organisations Can Apply for NPO Status?

Any organisation that is not for profit and is not part of government can apply for registration.; that is:

  • Non- Governmental Organisations (NGO)
  • Community Based Organisations (CBO)
  • Faith Based Organisations (FBO)
  • Organisations that have registered as Section 21 Companies under the Company Act 61 of 1973.
  • Trusts that have registered with Master of the Supreme Court under the Trust Property Control Act 57 of 1988.
  • Any other Voluntary Association that is not-for-profit. The Directorate can only register an organisation that has a constitution or any other founding document.




How Long does the Registration Process Take?

It would take about two months to process the entire registration. Immediate on receipt of application, an acknowledgement letter is send to the organisation, thereafter, a registration certificate follows if application meets the requirement of the NPO Act.

How Much does it Cost?

To register a Nonprofit Organisation is free of charge.

How do Organisations Register?

By submitting to the NPO Directorate:




What are the Benefits for Registration

There are many benefits to be gained from a system of registering nonprofit organisations. It:


  • Improve the credibility of the sector because NPOs can account to a public office.
  • Brings organisations into a formal system.
  • Help the sector to get organized.
  • Help in finding ways of getting benefits like tax incentives and funding opportunities