CIPC tackles challenges

Nicola Mawson
By Nicola Mawson, Contributor.
Johannesburg, 07 Jul 2011

The recently-formed Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) is making progress in addressing its current “challenges”, it says.

The CIPC came into being as the result of the Companies Act, which came into effect in May. The commission was created through the merger of the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro) and the Office of Companies and Intellectual Property Enforcement.

Cipro came under fire last year after its database was abused; leading to the South African Revenue Service paying out fraudulent tax refunds worth at least R51 million after companies' details were illicitly changed on the Cipro database.

In addition, at least 11 companies were reportedly hijacked in 2010, as fraudsters removed legitimate directors and replaced them with others on the agency's database.

Cipro also failed to install a new enterprise content management system after the R153 million contract, awarded to Valor IT, was canned when irregularities were picked up in the tender process. As Valor IT is fighting the cancellation in court, CIPC cannot move on with the upgrades, which would have introduced improved security measures.

All good?

However, in a press statement issued yesterday, the new commission says “not everything is doomed”, as it is making progress on developing its systems and has a plan to improve system challenges and deal with backlogs.

The commission, which did not specify what other challenges it was facing apart from backlogs, says end-users will start seeing the benefits of its interventions as “early as next week”.

Acting commissioner advocate Rory Voller says: “Customers should bear in mind that the CIPC is a new entity that has to implement a total new law as per the new Companies Act. This requires redesign of systems, which will be ongoing due to the complexity of the Companies Act and functions to be fulfilled by the CIPC.

“However, new companies are being registered daily, allowing South African businesses to continue trading,” says Voller.

The CIPC has also appointed an unnamed CIO, who will start working on Monday. Attempts to obtain the new executive's name proved unsuccessful.

“After a long period of not having a CIO on board, this appointment is regarded as a very positive step in stabilising the IT environment,” the commission says in a statement.

In addition, says the CIPC, the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants has finished the first part of helping the commission with backlogs and will, from next week, aid it to clear up delays in name reservations.