Nonprofit Law

Consider this section a quick guide to the various and sundry legal requirements and regulations around running an NPO. Included are articles on POPIA compliance and other regulations relevant to NPOs, Memorandums of Incorporation (MOI), what belongs in your founding documents, and why “ex-officio” probably does not mean what you thought it did.


Who needs to have an AGM?

Nicole Copley | NGO Law
An annual general meeting (AGM) is a meeting of members or shareholders, and its usual function is to elect the board, hear the reports on the activities and plans of the organisation, and view the annual financial statements (AFS). A non-profit which has members: The AGM is a fundamental part ...

Notifying the Information Regulator

Ricardo Wyngaard | The NPO Lawyer
The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) imposes important obligations on Organisations in the event of a data breach involving personal information of a data subject.Section 22 of POPIA (which should be easy to remember in 2022) compels Organisations to notify the Information Regulator...

Is consent always required under POPIA?

Ricardo Wyngaard | The NPO Lawyer
Consent is a central feature when processing personal information in terms of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA). It is however not an absolute requirement to process such information. POPIA defines consent as ‘any voluntary, specific and informed expression of will in terms of wh...

Indemnity forms and NPOs

Ricardo Wyngaard | The NPO Lawyer
Many NPOs make use of indemnity forms with the aim of reducing the potential for liability. This article explores the value of indemnity forms. Generally, it is possible for parties to contract out of liability. The signing of an indemnity form is common practice, but on its own may have limited...

[Watch] Should the Executive Director have a vote on the Board?

Ricardo Wyngaard | The NPO Lawyer
Should the Executive Director have a vote on the Governing Board? In this video we discuss some issues to consider.

[Watch] Can we do Commission based Fundraising?

Ricardo Wyngaard | The NPO Lawyer
This video deals with two provisions in the Income Tax Act, which are relevant to commission-based fundraising.

Can we leave our unused trust dormant?

Nicole Copley | NGO Law
The functioning of the various Masters of the High Court being what they are (and the comparative speed and ease of use of CIPC being markedly better) we are quite often asked by clients who have decided to no longer use a trust as their main operating entity, whether they could and should jus...

Dispute resolution clauses in founding documents

Nicole Copley | NGO Law
We quite often see standard ‘quick fix’ or arbitration dispute resolution clauses included in founding documents such as trust deeds, MOIs and constitutions. These dispute resolution clauses originate from contracts, and as a way to try to have people who have signed an agreement resolve matters...

NPC Advice: What is a 'unique MOI' and do we need one?

Nicole Copley | NGO Law
Many NPCs which are registered in a hurry or without any understanding of the importance of the Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) of an NPC are often established with the CIPC standard form MOI as their founding document. At ngoLAW we only register with a standard CIPC MOI as a short-term emergen...

What does 'ex-officio' mean?

Nicole Copley | NGO Law
The widely misunderstood term 'ex-officio' means “by virtue of another office held” and simply means that the person automatically becomes a board member because of some other position they are in. Those who serve ‘ex officio’ are not voted on, do not resign and are not subject to terms of offic...

POPIA Compliance update: Resources and options

Nicole Copley | NGO Law
The ‘D’ day for POPIA compliance has come and gone. Some of us have it all sussed and sorted, some had good intentions but have been diverted by other dramas, and some are still wondering whether they need to engage with POPIA (for the last lot, yes you do!) The good news is that the Information...

Regulations relevant to NPOs

Ricardo Wyngaard | The NPO Lawyer
The following two sets of Regulations have important implications for NPOs. Regulations relating to the Protection of Personal Information The Information Regulator has, under section 112 (2) of the Protection of Personal Information Act, Act No. 4 of 2013 (the Act) made regulations (the POPI R...

NPOs & Fixed Term Contracts

Ricardo Wyngaard | The NPO Lawyer
In 2016 the Labour Court (the Court)  delivered a judgment in which it held that a non- profit organisation’s dismissal of an employee on the grounds of operational requirements was procedurally and substantively fair. The Court also provided some interesting findings on fixed term contracts...

“Changing” the legal structure of your NPO

Ziyo | Accountants with heart, and Nicole Copley
It has surprised us how often staff, or governing body, members of non-profit organisations (“NPO’s”) have not been able to tell us which legal structure their organisation is established as – “we are an NPO” they insist! The Nonprofit Organisations Act defines, in section 1, an NPO as a trust, ...

POPIA and fundraising

Ricardo Wyngaard | The NPO Lawyer
The word ‘donation’ is contained once within the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA). This will likely change the fundraising game for NPOs in South Africa. Section 1 of POPIA defines ‘direct marketing’ and provides that it means, amongst other, to approach a data subject, either in p...

'A disturbing picture'

Ricardo Wyngaard | The NPO Lawyer
The Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, has on 03 November 2020 launched the Know Your NPO Status Campaign, which outlined ‘the process of deregistration of noncompliant NPOs’. The Department of Social Development (the Department) stated that: “As of September 2020, 233 180 NPOs were...


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