Business License, Restaurand & Liquor License

How do I apply for a trade license?

Your Trade license will be dependent on the location your business is situated. You would then apply at your local town council, district counselor metropolitan counsel depending on the area you are situated. Depending on the type of business that you are setting up, you may also need to comply with additional requirements:  International -currency


Zoning regulations are laws defining how you can use your property. Always Check your title deed to see whether or not your property qualifies for the relevant business rights. Once you have determined the zoning of your property your next step is to visit the Town Planner responsible for your area. The Town Planner will let you know whether you need to apply for consent use or the re-zoning of your property.

Common land-use or zoning categories include:

  • Residential zones: Such as single residential dwellings, group housing schemes or blocks of flats
  • Open space zones: These include private open spaces, public open spaces, parks, sports fields or cemeteries
  • Business and commercial zones: Such as shops or office blocks
  • Industrial zones: Factories, motor repair garages or warehouses
  • Government zones: Areas reserved for government buildings
  • Agricultural zones: Farms
  • Special use zones: For example petrol stations



If your business serves foods or drinks to the public you will have to comply with health and safety laws that make sure your food is safe for consumption. Regulations generally differ from area to area so to find out exactly what you need to do for your business to comply with the necessary laws, contact your local municipality and enquire about how to comply. A certificate of acceptability

When your business is involved in the provision of food then you are required by law to have a ‘Certificate of Acceptability’. Until such time as you have the necessary certificate, no person on your premises may handle food.  If you are found to be preparing and selling food without the certificate then you may be liable to a fine.

The Certificate of Acceptability must be in the name of the person who is responsible for the food premises, or the owner of the food premises. The Certificate of Acceptability is not transferable from one person to another or from one premise to another.


Liquor license

Liquor licenses are divided in three distinct categories:

On Consumption Liquor License: Liquor sold can only be consumed on the premises and may not be removed from the premises.

  • Off Consumption Liquor License: Liquor sold can’t be consumed on the premises.
  • Distributors Liquor License or Wholesale Liquor License: Liquor can only be sold to licensed establishments like liquor stores and pubs

If your business is planning on selling alcohol then you will have to apply for a liquor license. You can contact the liquor officer at your nearest police station or alternatively contact the Liquor Board.

The National Liquor Authority (NLA) deals with the processing of applications for macro manufacturing and distribution of liquor. It is also responsible for conducting inspections and investigations to ensure compliance with the liquor act. The requirements of licenses may differ from province to province.

You can only apply for your liquor license on the first Friday of every month. These dates are advertised on the Government Gazette and should you miss one of these dates the lodgement of your license will be delayed by a month.

To apply for your business liquor license you must reside in South Africa, have no criminal record, or be insolvent. If you are not going to be present at your premises at all times when a manager must be appointed to oversee the business in your absence.

You also need to display the liquor license in a conspicuous place on your premises. It is even advised that you attach your proof of payment to your business liquor license.

Music rights

If you are going to be playing music from your premises even in the background, they must apply for a license from The Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO), as well as a license from The South African Music Performance Rights Association (SAMPRA).

You will have to apply for two separate licenses as they are separate divisions. SAMRO is responsible for the copyright in a song (the music and lyrics), whereas SAMPRA covers the copyright in the recorded version of a song.

Once you have applied for licenses from both of these organizations you can then apply to the South African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) for music rights.