Establishing a Company in South Africa

The Republic of South Africa is one the largest of the African countries and the wealthiest amongst them. The country resides on the southern tip of the African continent and borders Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe to the north, and Mozambique and Swaziland to the northeast. In addition to its external neighbors, South Africa completely surrounds the enclaved nation of Lesotho. The country comprises nine provinces and has a population of approximately 55 million residents.

Originally, South Africa was formed as a Dutch colony, that was eventually ceded to England, thus becoming a British colony. In 1910 it gained independence as part of the British Commonwealth, and beginning in 1961, South Africa’s regime is that of a parliamentary republic. At its helm is the South African president, who serves both as the country’s head-of-state and as its prime minister.

South Africa boasts the African continent’s most developed economy. It enjoys an abundance of natural resources, has sprawling modern infrastructure, and its GDP is one of Africa’s highest. Conversely, South Africa suffers from severe economic troubles that stem from elevated unemployment rates and wide divides between the country’s white and black populations.

South Africa is distinct in its highly developed biodiversity, which can be seen in the immense richness of its flora and fauna, including rare species that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. This immense species variety is the basis for South Africa’s many national parks and nature reserves, the largest of which is Kruger National Park.

  • South Africa is the only country in the world with three capital cities: Pretoria is the administrative capital and the seat of government, Cape Town is the legislative capital and home to the country’s parliament, and Bloemfontein is the legal capital and residence of South Africa’s supreme court.
  • Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest and most populated city, sprawls across a geographical area that is twice that of New York City.
  • Over 15 thousand kilometers of operational railway lines crisscross South Africa, accounting for 80% of the entire continent’s rail lines, and affording convenient and effective transportation across the enormous country.

The South African economy constitutes approximately one quarter of the African continent’s GDP. The country is rich in minerals and is situated atop the world's largest deposits of gold, diamonds, coal, and platinum. Unsurprisingly, these industries serve as the country’s main export sectors. Alongside these, South Africa’s modern, well-developed infrastructure, its breathtaking vistas, its expansive nature reserves, and its ethnic-cultural wealth, support a thriving tourism industry.

South Africa’s economic and financial center is located in Johannesburg, the country's largest and most populous city. South Africa’s economy is a free and well-developed, and there is little governmental involvement. The years of political isolation and economic sanctions forced upon the country because of its Apartheid governance, spawned an advanced industrial sector built to independently supply the country’s needs, and benefits from an abundance of cheap labor. Abolishment of the Apartheid regime and opening of the country’s economy to the world were fertile grounds for massive foreign investment and rapid growth.

With that, the long years of Apartheid left their mark in the form of capital being largely concentrated amongst relatively few. South Africa was and continues to be one of the world’s leaders in inequality and suffers from elevated unemployment rates.

Despite theses difficulties, the South African economy is rich with economic opportunity and long-term business potential. The scope of South Africa’s international trade leads the continent, by a wide margin from the rest of the African countries. Differently than the other countries, South Africa doesn’t rely on oil as it’s primary export, a fact that reflects the country’s commercial diversity. Most of the opportunities in South Africa are vis-à-vis the private sector, and Israeli companies have a relevant presence in South Africa in sectors that include industry, agricultural machinery, communications and more.

General Information


Type of company

Private Company (Property Limited - Pty)

Relevant Companies Law

Companies Act 71 of 2008

Offices

Required

Language of original incorporation documents

English

Finance and Taxation


Currency

South African Rand

Corporate tax rate

28%

Standard share capital

R 1

Office Holders


Company Secretary (Secretary)

 
Obligation to appoint company secretary

Required

Obligation to appoint local secretary

Required

Type of entity that may function as company secretary

Individual and / or a company

Director

 
Obligation to appoint company director

Required

Obligation to appoint local company director

Not required

Minimum number of directors

1

Type of entity that may serve as company director

Individual and / or a company

Shareholders

 
Obligation to register shareholders

Required

Obligation to register local shareholders

Not required

Minimum number of shareholders

1

Type of entity that may register as shareholder

Individual and / or a company

Type of shares

Registered shares

Accessibility of Information


Company registrar

Information regarding company directors is publicly accessible.

Annual Assembly and Reporting


Obligation to hold annual assembly

Required

Obligation to prepare financial reports

Required

Obligation to submit financial reports

Required

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