How do I apply for a trading licence in this regard since...

How do I apply for a trading licence in this regard since US suppliers require me to have a valid business licence before they will trade with me?


Certain types of businesses, namely those that sell, hawk or supply meals or perishable foodstuffs and those that provide certain types of health facilities or entertainment, require a licence to trade.

To obtain a trading licence for your business, you need to apply to the Licensing Department, which in turn requires reports from the health and fire department and town planning. The latter two developments will check that your business meets health and fire regulations and that your proposed premises are in an area zoned for business.

The process

You will need to apply for a licence from your city’s Trade Licence Department. An RP1 form, available from one of the regional offices should be completed. This form then needs to be returned with all the necessary supporting documentation:

  • In case of a company, close corporation or partnership a copy of the company certificate and list of directors is required
  • Identity documents for all directors and partners, including that of the manager or person in charge
  • Copy of liquor licence
  • Copy of menu in the case of a food trader
  • Copy of SARS tax certificate
  • Copy of approved building layout plan
  • Zoning certificate

You will need to pay a once-off application fee.
Once the documentation is completed, the application will be forwarded to five departments to check that the city requirements are met:

  • Environmental health
  • Noise and air pollution
  • Public safety
  • Urban planning
  • Building control

An inspection is then carried out on the premises by the departments concerned. Only when all departments have returned favourable reports and recommended approval, will the trade licence be issued. Note that a trade licence or application cannot be transferred with a change of ownership. A business licence can be withdrawn or suspended if there is a failure to comply with endorsements.

Entrepreneur Magazine is South Africa's top read business publication with the highest readership per month according to AMPS. The title has won seven major publishing excellence awards since it's launch in 2006. Entrepreneur Magazine is the "how-to" handbook for growing companies. Find us on Google+ here.