Non-Profit Organisations: Registration and Funding


The Western Cape Department of Social Development assists non-profit organisations (NPOs) with funding, while the National Department of Social Development ensures that all NPOs are registered.


A non-profit organisation (NPO) may register with the NPO Directorate in the National Department of Social Development. An NPO can be a trust, a company or any other association of persons, which has a public rather than a private purpose, and which does not operate for profit (not-for-profit means that the NPO's property or income is not paid out to its office bearers, except as payment for work done or services rendered). Types of NPOs include:

  • Non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
  • Community-based organisations (CBOs).
  • Faith-based organisations (FBOs).
  • 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.

There are a number of non-profit organisations already registered in the Western Cape. Registration of an NPO is not compulsory but voluntary. Registration gives an NPO some legitimacy, and applications for funding, whether to government or other funding organisations, are more likely to be successful when an NPO is registered.

However, registration does impose obligations on NPOs, such as having to submit annual narrative and financial reports to the Directorate, and complying with a code of good practice.


The Provincial Department of Social Development provides subsidies and programme funding for NPOs that provide developmental welfare services. Any NPO can apply for this funding.


It does not cost anything to register an NPO. Only NPOs that have a constitution or some other founding document can be registered. The National Department has developed a model constitution (also available in Afrikaans).

To register an NPO, you need to submit an application form and two copies of your NPO's founding document (constitution, deed of trust, or memorandum and articles of association).

These need to be submitted by post to:
Directorate: Non-Profit Organisations
Department of Social Development
Private Bag X901, Pretoria, 0001

Or hand-delivered to:
Directorate: Non-Profit Organisations
HSRC Building, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria, 0002

Your application for registration will take about two months to process. However, on receipt of the application, an acknowledgement of receipt letter will be sent to you. A registration certificate follows if the application is successful. It is possible to appeal if your application is unsuccessful.

Provided by:
Government Body: (Western Cape Government)
The content on this page was last updated on 22 May 2014