Record keeping by a co-operative

This information should be noted BEFORE an application is lodged for registration of a new co-operative.

A registered co-operative must keep (in terms of the Co-operatives Act, 2005) the following at its offices:

  • Its Constitution, including any amendments thereto.
  • The minutes of General Meetings in a Minute Book.
  • The minutes of meetings of the Board of Directors in a Minute book.

A List of Members / Register of Members setting out:

i. the name and address of each member.
ii. the date on which each member became a member.
iii. if applicable, the date on which a person’s membership was terminated.
iv. the amount of any membership fees paid, the number of membership shares owned and the number and amount of member loans.

A Register of Directors setting out:

i. the name, address and identity number of each director, including former directors.
the date on which such directors became or ceased to be directors.
ii. the name and address of any other co-operative, company or close corporation where both present and former directors are, or were, directors or members.

  • A Register of Director's interest in contracts or undertakings.
  • Adequate Accounting Records, including records reflecting the transactions between each member and the co-operative for the purpose of calculating the patronage proportion.

The co-operative must keep its accounting records

  • for a period of five years after the end of the financial year to which they relate, in the case its main object involves its members conducting transactions with it.
  • for a period of three years after the end of the financial year to which they relate, in the case its main object does not involve its members conducting transactions with it.

Access to information of Co-operative

  • Subject to the paragraph below, members of the co-operative may examine the records referred to in paragraphs above during normal business hours of the co-operative and may make copies thereof after payment of a fee.
  • Subject to the Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000, the Board of Directors may, for a reasonable period of time, refuse information relating to any commercial transaction of the co-operative if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the disclosure may be to the disadvantage of the co-operative.
  • Where the constitution of a co-operative provides for the establishment of a supervisory committee, the supervisory committee must determine whether the Board of Directors is entitled to withhold information in terms of the paragraph above.

TIP: Before considering registering a Co-operative, visit your local Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) Office for the following services:

  • Pre-incorporation & Co-operative Management Training
  • Assistance with business planning