Business licences and permits | Western Cape Government

Business licences and permits

Business licenceIf you’re planning to start a business you’ll probably need a business licence. If your business needs a licence to operate you may not start trading until a licence has been issued.  Trading without a valid licence is a punishable offense. 

To operate your business, you’ll need to comply with certain health and safety regulations. Certain businesses require only a business trading licence to operate, and some may need to comply with additional regulations.

A business licence is generally required for businesses that need to comply with health and safety regulations. You’ll have to apply for the licence if you want to start one of the following businesses:

Food provision

If your business sells or supplies meals or perishable food to eat on the premises or to take away, you’ll need a licence to do so.

Health and entertainment facilities 

You need a licence for:

Turkish baths, saunas and health baths,
Massage or infra-red treatments,
Male and female escort agencies,
Three or more slot machines and electronic games,
Three or more snooker or billiard tables,
Nightclubs and bars, where live or loud music is played, and
Adult entertainment premises.


If you’re a hawker selling food and meals, which you take from place to place or sell from a vehicle, you’ll need a permit.
business licence 2Where do I apply for a business licence?

Your local municipality handles business licences and you can contact them for details on licensing procedures and the various health and safety regulations required for different kinds of business.

Depending on the type of business, you may need to comply with the following requirements:

  • Zoning
  • Health
  • Safety (particularly fire)

If you comply with all the requirements, you’ll be issued with a licence. If not, you can apply for a 14-day grace period, during which you can make changes to your premises so that they meet the requirements.

For more information please contact your local municipality. Here's more information on municipalities in the Western Cape

Selling liquor

If you want to sell or manufacture liquor, the law requires you to apply for a liquor licence before you do. Here’s what you need to know to apply for a liquor licence in the Western Cape.

The content on this page was last updated on 22 November 2016