Key commercial and taxation factors that are relevant on setting up a business in South Africa

Written and Produced by Levitt Kirson Chartered Accountants (S.A)

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South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is located on the southern tip of the African continent, bordered by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. It is one of the most advanced, broad-based industrial and productive economies in Africa.

South Africa covers approximately 1,200,000 square kilometres. The capital is Pretoria, located in the northeast central area of the country. Other major cities include Johannesburg, Soweto, and Bloemfontein in the interior of the country and Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, and Durban on the coast.

Its population is approximately 55 million, with population density of 45 per Km2. Per the 2011 Census data from Statistics South Africa, Africans are in the majority making up approximately 80% of the total population. The coloured and white populations are each about 9% while the Indian/Asian population stands at 3%.

South Africa is a constitutional democracy with a three-tier system of government and an independent judiciary. The national, provincial and local levels of government all have legislative and executive authority in their own spheres and are defined in the Constitution as “distinctive, interdependent and interrelated”. National government is further divided into three separate spheres: legislative, executive, and judicial.

This document describes some of the key commercial and taxation factors that are relevant on setting up a business in South Africa. The document includes information on:

  • Choice of Legal Form
  • Audit Requirements
  • Taxation
  • Allowances
  • Teamwork
  • Employment
  • Withholding Taxes
  • Miscellaneous

Country Breakdown





South African Rand


$ 294.8