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The main purpose of this directorate is to provide for the formation, registration and super-vision of co-operatives and it is mandated to administer the Co-operatives Act, 2005 (Act No. 14 of 2005). It also facilitates increased enterprise ownership by disadvantaged persons and promotes the establishment of co-operatives in poor rural communities.

Main areas of responsibility

The directorate is responsible for the registration, liquidation and deregistration of co-operatives as well as amalgamation and conversions. It answers queries from the public and provides information relating to co-operatives. Furthermore, it is also responsible for analysing the financial statements of co-operatives.

1. What is a co-operative?

A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their mutual economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise organised and operated on co-operative principles.

2. What are the characteristics of a co-operative?

  • Association of persons
  • Voluntary basis
  • Mutual or common economic, social and cultural needs
  • Jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise
  • Co-operative principles

3. What are the principles of the co-operatives?

  • Democratic member control
  • Voluntary and open membership
  • Autonomy and independence
  • Educational training and information
  • Co-operation among co-operatives
  • Concern for community
  • Member economic participation

4. How does the co-operative work?

A co-operative is a distinct form of enterprise that provides services and products to its members. Profits, known as surpluses in a co-operative, are divided among members in relation to the amount of the business each member did with the co-operative.

5. What are the benefits?

  • Achieve what one cannot achieve on his own
  • Provide easy access to needed services
  • Pay less for inputs, marketing, distribution and selling of produce
  • Process products if necessary

6. How to start a co-operative?


  • Chairperson read part of the business plan which outlines the aims and objectives, as well as the business prospects to all present in the formation meeting
  • Answer all the questions arising
  • Invite everybody to join
  • Those interested should be given an Application Form For Membership to complete
  • Those that completed the Application Forms For Membership will then choose the Board of Directors
  • The co-operative is now legally formed


  • Identify the objectives (Exactly what the co-operative wants to do)
  • Equipment, buildings, and other materials needed in the enterprise
  • Financial requirements (How are you going to obtain this?)
  • Premises (Where will the co-operative be located)
  • Choose a steering committee for the purpose of driving the formation process further
  • Draw-up an initial plan of operation
  • Obtain a constitution (statute) which will lay down the procedures to be followed by the co-operative in executing its aims and objectives. (see bottom of this page for models that could be used)

FORMATION: The Process Further

  • First meeting of the board
  • Registration process
  • Completion of registration forms & constitution
  • Filing documents with the Registrar of Co-operatives for consideration
  • Certificate of Registration
  • Registered constitution
  • Start operating!

7. Who can be a member?

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