20 April 2011
The new Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, and the new Companies Act that it takes charge of, will simplify company registration and modernise business administration in South Africa, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.
Launching the new commission in Midrand, Johannesburg on Monday, Davies said it would guide the implementation of South Africa’s new Companies Act, which comes into effect in May.
“I’m satisfied that the commission is in a state of readiness,” Davies said. “When we bring into force this legislation, we will be bringing to South Africans top notch legislation.”
“We need to move from where we are in the interest of good governance, and this piece of legislation will help us in this regard,” the minister said, adding: “As we implement, we will sort out any problems that may arise. We will learn by doing.”
With significantly expanded functions and powers, the new commission will combine the functions of the Office of Companies and Intellectual Property Enforcement (OCIPE) and Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro).
Administrative functions currently assigned to the minister under the Companies Act are to be placed within the jurisdiction of the commission, which will act as an autonomous statutory body outside the public service.
The Act also introduces a number of new responsibilities, which Cipro currently does not perform, but will be performed by the new commission. These include pro-active enforcement measures by way of compliance notices served on defaulting companies, investigations of all complaints and contraventions of the Act, and investigating the affairs of companies.
Davies rejected criticism that the new commission would be Cipro, just under a new name. “Our intention is to actually ease processes, so it won’t be business as usual. We are aware that there will be challenges at first, but what we can assure businesspeople is that things will be totally different from now on.”
The process of reorganising Cipro and retraining staff had taken more than a year of intensive work, according to the department’s deputy director-general, Zodwa Ntuli.
The department’s former deputy director-general, Astrid Ludin, has been appointed to lead the commission and will be assisted by several deputy commissioners.
Ludin said: “The challenge for the commission will be to make sure that we have systems in place that will ensure that we deliver on the simplicity that we promise to companies. Together, we will work hard to achieve an institution that will be a vehicle for business enterprises in this country.”