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The role of Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) in ensuring compliance with legislation

The CIPC’s mandate is to give effect to legislation related to corporate registration, market conduct regulation and surveillance as well as Intellectual Property rights protection.

This involves facilitating the process of registering companies and co-operatives as well as ensuring compliance with the requirements set out in the Companies Act. This includes verifying the information provided by companies to ensure that it meets the necessary legal criteria for registration. The CIPC also monitors compliance and one of the prescripts provide for corporates to file annual returns to prove that these are active entities. This process has been made simpler through automation, making it easier for customers to be compliant using CIPC’s online platforms to submit correct accounting records and comply with disclosure and reporting obligations.

The CIPC administers and registers intellectual property rights, namely trade marks, patents and designs as well as copyright in films. By registering these rights, the CIPC helps protect the interests of investors, creators and businesses ensuring compliance with relevant intellectual property laws.

In addition, CIPC is responsible for enforcement of provisions of the Companies Act. This is done through enforcement action, investigations where necessary and the issuing of compliance notices. For example, in January 2021, the CIPC issued a Compliance Notice to the Board of Directors of Steinhoff International Holdings which included but not limited to the identification of individuals that were involved in the falsification of any accounting records of Steinhoff and/or any related or interrelated business unit(s); division(s); associate companies; joint venture companies and/or subsidiaries of Steinhoff. Working together with relevant public institutions such as the Standing Committee on Public Accounts Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry and Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration in investigating the breach of Company legislation. (

The enforcement of legislation includes imposing penalties and taking necessary legal action where applicable. The CIPC also provides guidance and support to business and individuals regarding compliance with the legislation. This includes offering resources, training programmes and advisory services to help stakeholders understand and meet their legal obligations. Overall, CIPC plays a vital role in safeguarding the integrity of the business environment and promotes compliance with legislation related to companies and intellectual property in South Africa.

CIPC is a proud National Partner of the NSBC

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