The Companies & Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro) is merging with the Office of Companies & Intellectual Property Enforcement (OCIPE) to become a Commission, to be known as the Companies & Intellectual Property Commission.
Keith Sendwe, CEO of Cipro, explains that the decision to transform Cipro into a Commission was made five years ago as part of the broad Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) corporate law reform which involved the development of a new Companies Act.
The blueprint for this reform is contained in the guidance policy document entitled ‘South African Company Law for the 21st Century: Guidelines for Corporate Law Reform’, written and refined prior to introduction in Parliament during 2008.
In a global environment where the stimulation of economic growth is of critical importance, it was deemed necessary to combine forces with other organisations complimenting Cipro's service offering and place registration and enforcement of companies and intellectual property rights under one roof.
Cipro needs to follow due process in order to transform into a commission, says Sendwe.
“Following the introduction of the new Companies Act to Parliament, it was published for general comment on 27 June 2008 as Bill 61 of 2008. The Portfolio Committee on Trade & Industry received considerable feedback on the Act. All feedback, including oral presentations, which formed part of the public hearing of the Companies Bill during the latter part 2008, was taken into account. The result is a Bill that was significantly influenced by consumers and experts in the field of companies and intellectual property.”
The Bill was finally approved by the Committee and Parliament during November 2008 and has since been signed off by the President.
“As with all transformation processes, we will have to be patient to see the end result, the Commission as a sunset clause in the Act prevents the new regulation from being put into operation within one year following its promulgation. The new Companies & Intellectual Property Commission will therefore only see the light after July 2010," he adds.
“After transformation, the Companies & Intellectual Property Commission will operate under a new law with significantly expanded functions and powers. In particular, all administrative functions will now be de-politicised and placed within the jurisdiction of the Commission. Previously, all the administrative functions were assigned to the Minister of the dti. The appointment of members within the institutions and the drafting of regulations will however still be handled by the Minister.”
The ultimate goal of the reform is to ensure that enterprises of all types and sizes promote the principles of growth, employment, innovation, stability, good governance, confidence and international competitiveness.