March 2020: letter from lockdown

heal the worldWhile the earth (and we personally) may welcome the compulsory reset of the lockdown, our beneficiaries and organisations are going to be hard hit by the halting of many projects.

NGOs across South Africa have been a step ahead in taking responsible action, and many have already suspended programs and activities.  NGOs are also showing typical resourcefulness and grit, finding new ways to continue their work and to ensure that their organisations survive this period.

There is much work to be done, and it is time to work together, to let the voices of our beneficiaries be heard and to be the leaders which our communities need.

This brief newsletter contains the latest information on closures of the government departments that NGOs typically deal with, and our comment on the ongoing work which may be done.

At ngoLAW we will be continuing our work and will research and draw together information and advice to assist you with thinking through and making some tough decisions over the next while.  Watch this space for our correspondence and conversations and please forward to anyone who may benefit.

To submit your questions, visit our website, hit the ‘contact’ tab, and enter your question into the ‘Contact Form’ space provided.

Stay safe, keep calm and carry on- A Luta Continua!

Nicole, Lize, Bandile, Janice, Lisa and Dorothy


Government service status:



The CIPC (Companies office) has announced that:

  • it will be closed entirely from 4.00 pm on 24 March until 31 March.
  • Limited electronic services will resume on 1 April, and
  • the rest of their services will resume on 17 April.
We will still be able to compile and create CIPC documents for lodging, and will be able to submit some on 1 April and the balance on 17 April. Email
The NPO Directorate will be closed from 27 March until 16 April.

The clean-up of the NPO register,which was planned to start on 1 April, will be delayed until 1 July.

We do not yet have exact details of the plan, but we know that organisations with the longest outstanding NPO reports will be deregistered first.  The lockdown gives organisations which are behind with their reports a chance to catch up.

ngoLAW will continue to obtain information and compile NPO reports but will lodge these from 17 April onwards.

No new NPO applications will be made during the lockdown period, but we will gather information and prepare for them.

Organisations which are behind with NPO reports should contact us urgently for assistance in using this time to get the reports ready to lodge.

SARS had already called on citizens to stop coming into branches and to use e-filing.

The TEU (Tax Exemption Unit) will be closed and will not be dealing with applications during the lockdown period.

ngoLAW will continue to work on and assemble exemption applications so that they are ready to be lodged when the TEU re-opens for business. Email
Master of the High Court
Courts across South Africa are halting new court applications, restricting access to existing hearings and issuing directives around non-essential work and working from home.

No national directive has yet been issued specifically around trust administration departments but our feeling is that the charitable trust registrations and updates will not be seen as essential and that work on them will cease for the duration of the lockdown.

Sadly, a 21-day delay will not have a huge impact on the already terrifically slow turnaround time of the various offices of the Master.

We will continue to draft the documents needed for trust and trustee changes, and will liaise with our agents in the various centres about when they may be lodged. Email


Time to catch up

The next three weeks may be the gap you needed to get your admin, governance, standard agreements and overdue updates done.

This is the stuff we are best at, so let us know how we can help.

ngoLAW services continue. From Friday 27 March we will all be working from home. The easiest way to get in touch is email, and we will also be available on zoom/skype/cell phone (the landline will only be answered intermittently).


Useful resources:

Recommended reading: Joan Garry’s blog post on virtual meetings– how they should be designed and led (hint: not just as rushed versions of in-person meetings!)  is useful and includes a free download of guidelines for a valuable virtual gathering

new from Marcus:  this glossary is designed to help non-profits and social enterprises think clearly about strategies and business models. More than just a list of definitions, it explains key concepts and enables meaningful conversations

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