NGO Registration In South Africa

Who is an NGO?

A nongovernmental organization (NGO), is a voluntary group of individuals or organizations, usually not affiliated with any government, that is formed to provide services or to advocate a public policy.

NGO Registration In South Africa

About registering a nonprofit organization

If yours is a non-profit organization and is not part of the government, you can apply for registration. You can submit your non-profit organization (NPO) application at your nearest provincial social development office.

NPOs include trusts, companies, or other associations of persons established for a public purpose.

Registering your NPO is beneficial because of its certificate:

  • improves your credibility and funding opportunities
  • allows your organization to open a bank account
  • helps your organization with tax incentives.

To register, you must be one of the following:

  • a non-governmental organization (NGO)
  • community-based organization (CBO)
  • faith-based organization (FBO).

What you should do

  1. Submit the completed NPO application form at your nearest provincial social development office together with two copies of the organization’s founding documents:
    • Trust – Deeds of trust and letters of authorization from the courts
    • Section 21 – Certificate of incorporation and memorandum and articles of association
    • Voluntary Association – Constitution
    • The founding documents of the NPO must meet the provisions of Section 12 (A-O) of the Nonprofit Organisations Act, 1997 (Act 71 of 1997).  If you fail to do that, your application will be rejected.
      • You can submit your application at your nearest provincial Social Development office, post it to The Directorate, Non-profit organizations, Department of Social Development, Private Bag X901, Pretoria, 0001, or deliver it by hand to the Department of Social Development, 134 Pretorius Street, HSRC Building, Pretoria.
  2. If you are dissatisfied with the rejection or cancellation of your organization’s certificate, you may launch an appeal to the panel arbitrators.
  3. Once it is registered, you must submit the organization’s annual report nine months after its financial year-end. The annual report should consist of a narrative report and a financial report.

It is a criminal offense for an organization to operate under the pretense of a registered NPO. Various government departments offer funding for various services.


  • It may take approximately two months to process the entire registration.
  • Once your application has been received, the department will send you an acknowledgment letter. A registration certificate will be issued if your application meets the requirements of the Nonprofit Organisations Act, 1997.

How many members are required to form an NGO in South Africa?

A minimum of three incorporators must complete and sign the MOI. A minimum of three directors must be appointed.

Non-profit companies must at all times have at least three directors (unless MoI indicated a higher minimum number of directors).

How many nonprofit organizations are there in South Africa?

According to the Department of Social Development (DSD), there were 266 531 registered NPOs in South Africa at the end of September 2022, up from 248 902 in September 2021 and 228 822 in May 2020.