CIPC backlog 'unexpected'

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The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) has a backlog of 19 000 company registrations, company changes and co-operative registrations, which the Democratic Alliance says is “alarming”.

However, an online system has gone live, which it hopes will lead to quicker registration and help prevent further backlogs. The CIPC was formed after the Companies Act came into effect in May last year, when Cipro and the Office of Companies and Intellectual Property Enforcement were merged.

DA shadow trade and industry minister Tim Harris argues that although the CIPC made progress in the middle of last year, the situation has “deteriorated alarmingly in the past four months”.

Harris calls for trade and industry minister Rob Davies to intervene, “to fix the capacity and management problems at the commission”. He says the transaction backlog was trimmed from 50 000 last June to 6 700 in September, but has since “ballooned” to 19 000.

“In July last year, the minister committed to clearing the backlog by the end of August 2011. It's now clear that the backlog is far from cleared, and the capacity and management problems at the commission remain.”

However, head of communication, marketing and stakeholder relations, Elsab'e Conradie, says there is “no crisis” at the CIPC, as most backlogs have been cleared. “The only concern is with new companies registrations, where the backlog increased due to the much higher than expected influx of applications in November.”

Conradie adds the CIPC has slowed down the registration process to “ensure quality of work and to prevent rework due to typing errors”. However, a new online registration system has been implemented, which should trim the backlog, she adds.

Between May last year and the end of December, CIPC received 507 515 applications, of which 488 495 were processed, a 96% completion rate. It says it saw a “significant” increase in the number of company applications since September.

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