How to Register an NGO in South Africa


A non-governmental organization (NGO) is one that has been founded without the involvement of a government agency. Nonprofit organizations are the most common, although clubs and groups that offer services to their members and the public can also fall under this category.

As long as your organization is not affiliated with the government, you can register.  NGO applications can be submitted to the provincial social development office in your area of residence.

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Trusts, corporations, and other groups of people formed for the benefit of the public are examples of NGOs.

NGO in South Africa

The certificate that comes with registering your non-profit is a major benefit:

  • Enhances your reputation and potential sources of finance
  • Opens a bank account for your organization, which provides tax advantages.
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You must be one of the following to register an NGO; a CBO; a faith-based organization; a non-profit corporation (FBO).

Two copies of the organization’s formation documents and the NPO application form must be submitted to the provincial social development office nearest you.

a letter of authorization from the courts and deeds of trust

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Incorporation and memorandum & articles of incorporation, Section 21

Constitution of a Nonprofit Organization

A non-profit organization’s formation documents must comply with the Nonprofit Organizations Act, 1997, Section 12 (A-O) (Act 71 of 1997). Your application will be rejected if you don’t comply with this requirement.

You can hand deliver your application to the Department of Social Development, 134 Pretorius Street, HSRC Building, Pretoria, or mail it to The Directorate, Non-profit organizations, Department of Social Development, Private Bag X901, Pretoria, 0001.

An appeal to the panel arbitrators can be made if you are not pleased with the denial or cancellation of your organization’s certificate.

You must submit the organization’s annual report nine months after its financial year-end if it has been registered with the state. A narrative and a financial report should be included in the annual report.

An organization operating under the guise of a registered non-profit is breaking the law. Funding is available from several government departments for a variety of programs.


Registration as a whole could take up to two months to be processed.

Upon receiving your application, the department will give you a letter of confirmation. If your application fits the standards of the Nonprofit Organizations Act, 1997, you will be awarded a certificate of incorporation.

Completion of paperwork

(PDF forms are available for download). Adobe Acrobat Reader 4(link is external) or higher is required to open PDF documents.)

Non-profit organization’s application for registration

Who should I call?

Contact information for provincial offices of the Department of Social Development.


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