How to Become a Business Rescue Practitioner in South Africa 2024

How to Become a Business Rescue Practitioner in South Africa
How to Become a Business Rescue Practitioner in South Africa

In the dynamic landscape of South African business, the role of a business rescue practitioner has emerged as pivotal in aiding struggling companies to regain their footing.

This specialized profession involves implementing strategies to rehabilitate financially distressed businesses, thereby preserving jobs and stabilizing the economy.

Given the complexities and the critical impact of their work, becoming a business rescue practitioner requires a deep understanding of business operations, legal frameworks, and financial management.

This guide aims to navigate the comprehensive process of becoming a certified practitioner, outlining the essential steps, qualifications, and experiences needed to embark on this rewarding career path.

Role of a Business Rescue Practitioner

A Business Rescue Practitioner (BRP) plays a critical role in the survival and restructuring of financially distressed companies in South Africa.

Operating under the framework of the Companies Act, No 71 of 2008, a BRP is tasked with devising and implementing strategies aimed at rehabilitating these businesses to ensure they remain viable and competitive.

The role encompasses a wide range of responsibilities, demanding a blend of legal, financial, and managerial expertise.

Key Responsibilities

The primary responsibility of a BRP is to develop a business rescue plan that offers the best outcome for the company’s creditors, shareholders, and employees, ensuring the business’s survival. This involves:

  • Assessing the company’s financial situation comprehensively.
  • Negotiating with creditors for moratoriums or restructuring debt.
  • Making critical operational decisions to streamline expenses and improve profitability.
  • Overseeing the implementation of the rescue plan to guide the company back to solvency.

Impact on Struggling Businesses

The intervention of a BRP can mean the difference between liquidation and survival for a struggling business.

Through strategic planning and negotiations, a BRP can help retain jobs, preserve shareholder value, and ensure creditors receive a better return than they would from liquidation.

This not only benefits the company in distress but also contributes to the stability and health of the South African economy by minimizing the negative impacts of business failures.

The legal authority and framework for business rescue are outlined in Chapter 6 of the Companies Act, No 71 of 2008.

The Act specifies the qualifications required to serve as a BRP, the process of appointment, and the practitioner’s powers and duties.

It creates a legal environment that supports the business rescue process, ensuring that practitioners have the necessary tools and authority to execute their responsibilities effectively.

Qualifications Required

To embark on a career as a Business Rescue Practitioner (BRP) in South Africa, certain educational and professional qualifications are required.

These qualifications ensure that practitioners are well-equipped with the necessary legal, financial, and managerial knowledge to effectively carry out business rescue operations.

Basic Educational Requirements

The foundation for a career in business rescue starts with a relevant tertiary education. Aspiring BRPs typically hold a degree in:

  • Law: A background in law is invaluable due to the legal complexities involved in business rescue proceedings.
  • Accounting: Knowledge in accounting is crucial for analyzing financial statements and devising viable financial strategies.
  • Business Management: A degree in business management provides insight into operational efficiencies and strategic planning.

Professional Qualifications and Certifications

Beyond a basic degree, specific certifications can enhance a candidate’s prospects in the field of business rescue. These may include:

  • Certified Turnaround Professional (CTP): This certification, though not mandatory, is recognized internationally and demonstrates expertise in turnaround management and business restructuring.
  • Courses in Business Rescue or Insolvency Law: Specialized courses provide detailed knowledge of the legal aspects of business rescue, insolvency practices, and the Companies Act of South Africa.

Membership in Professional Bodies

Membership in relevant professional bodies, such as the South African Restructuring and Insolvency Practitioners Association (SARIPA), can be beneficial. These organizations offer resources, training, and networking opportunities that are valuable in the field.

According to the Companies Act, No 71 of 2008, to officially practice as a BRP in South Africa, practitioners must:

  • Be registered with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC).
  • Not have any disqualifications as specified by the Act, such as being insolvent, or having a history of fraud or related offenses.

Continuous Professional Development

BRPs are expected to engage in continuous professional development to stay abreast of the latest laws, regulations, and best practices in business rescue. This ensures that they can provide the most effective strategies and support to distressed businesses.

Gaining Relevant Experience

Gaining relevant experience is a crucial step for aspiring Business Rescue Practitioners (BRPs) in South Africa, providing the practical skills and insights necessary for the successful execution of business rescue operations.

This experience not only enriches an individual’s understanding of the theoretical aspects of their education but also prepares them for the complex, multifaceted challenges they will face in the field.

Importance of Experience

Experience in relevant fields such as business management, law, or financial management equips prospective BRPs with a deep understanding of the dynamics of running a business, the implications of financial distress, and the legalities involved in business rescue proceedings.

It also helps in developing critical skills such as strategic thinking, negotiation, and stakeholder management, which are indispensable in the business rescue process.

Ways to Acquire Relevant Experience

  1. Internships and Traineeships: Starting with internships or traineeships in law firms, accounting firms, or financial institutions can provide hands-on experience in the relevant sectors. These positions often offer exposure to financial restructuring, insolvency proceedings, or corporate law, laying a solid foundation for a career in business rescue.
  2. Working in Financial or Legal Capacities: Positions in financial analysis, credit management, or legal advisory roles contribute significantly to understanding the economic and legal aspects of business operations. These roles can provide insights into identifying signs of financial distress early and the legal avenues available for rescue.
  3. Volunteering for Small Business Consultancies: Offering pro bono consultancy services to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can be a practical way to gain experience in business management and restructuring. This experience is invaluable in understanding the challenges businesses face and the strategies that can help them recover.
  4. Networking and Mentorship: Building a network within the industry and seeking mentorship from established BRPs can offer practical insights and firsthand knowledge of the business rescue process. Mentorship and professional networking can also open doors to opportunities for involvement in real business rescue projects.

Leveraging Experience for Certification

The experience gained through these avenues contributes significantly to the certification process for becoming a BRP.

Demonstrating a track record of relevant experience is often a requirement for certification and registration with regulatory bodies like the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) in South Africa.

Moreover, this experience is critical when applying for roles or assignments as a BRP, as it assures stakeholders of the practitioner’s capability to navigate the complexities of business rescue.

Certification Process

The certification process for becoming a Business Rescue Practitioner (BRP) in South Africa is governed by the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC).

This process is designed to ensure that BRPs have the necessary knowledge, skills, and ethical grounding to effectively assist distressed companies.

Step 01: Pre-qualification Criteria

Before embarking on the certification process, aspirants must meet certain pre-qualification criteria:

  • Educational Background: A degree in law, accounting, business management, or a related field is typically required.
  • Relevant Experience: Demonstrable experience in business management, financial management, or law is essential. The exact requirements may vary, but the aim is to ensure that the practitioner has a solid grounding in the practical aspects of business operations and rescue procedures.

Step 02: Examination and Assessment

  1. Registration with Professional Body: Some organizations, like the South African Restructuring and Insolvency Practitioners Association (SARIPA), offer courses and examinations that are recognized by the CIPC. Membership or certification from such bodies can be a prerequisite.
  2. CIPC Examination: The CIPC may require candidates to pass an examination that tests their knowledge of the Companies Act, business rescue procedures, and the ethical considerations of acting as a BRP.

Step 03: Application Process

Following successful completion of the necessary examinations and assessments, candidates can proceed with the application process:

  1. Submission of Documents: Candidates must submit a comprehensive application to the CIPC, including proof of their educational qualifications, evidence of relevant experience, and any certifications from professional bodies.
  2. Background Checks: The CIPC conducts background checks to ensure that applicants have no criminal record and are not disqualified from acting as a BRP under the Companies Act (e.g., due to insolvency).
  3. Certification Fee: A fee is typically required with the application. The amount can vary, so it’s advisable to check the latest requirements on the CIPC’s website.

Step 04: Post-certification Requirements

Once certified, BRPs must adhere to ongoing requirements to maintain their status:

  • Continuous Professional Development (CPD): BRPs are required to keep their knowledge and skills up to date through CPD activities. This could include attending workshops, seminars, and courses relevant to business rescue and insolvency law.
  • Adherence to Standards: Practitioners must comply with the legal and ethical standards set out by the CIPC and any relevant professional bodies. This includes maintaining confidentiality, avoiding conflicts of interest, and acting in the best interest of the distressed company and its stakeholders.

Step 05: Final Steps

Upon successful completion of the certification process and adherence to post-certification requirements, practitioners are officially recognized as BRPs by the CIPC.

They are then eligible to be appointed to manage business rescue proceedings, offering them a unique opportunity to make a significant impact on the survival and recovery of distressed businesses in South Africa.

Registration and Licensing process

The registration and licensing process for Business Rescue Practitioners (BRPs) in South Africa is a critical step to ensure that these professionals are duly recognized and authorized to practice.

This process is administered by the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), which is responsible for ensuring that BRPs meet all the necessary legal and professional standards.

Step 1: Meet the Qualification Requirements

Before applying for registration, ensure that you meet the qualification requirements, including relevant educational background, professional certifications, and sufficient experience in fields related to business rescue, law, financial management, or business management.

Step 2: Complete the Application Form

  • Download and complete the application form for registration as a BRP from the CIPC website. The form requires detailed information about your qualifications, experience, and any professional memberships.

Step 3: Compile Required Documentation

  • Prepare supporting documentation, which typically includes certified copies of your qualifications, evidence of relevant experience, certificates of good standing from professional bodies, and any other documentation specified by the CIPC.

Step 4: Submit Application and Pay Fees

  • Submit the completed application form along with the required documentation to the CIPC. This can usually be done electronically through the CIPC’s online portal or by mail, depending on the current procedures.
  • Pay the applicable registration fee. The fee amount and payment methods are specified by the CIPC and may vary, so it’s important to check the latest information on their website.

Step 5: CIPC Evaluation Process

  • After submitting your application, the CIPC will review your documents to verify your qualifications and experience. This may include background checks and references to ensure compliance with the legal requirements.
  • Examination or assessment may be required, depending on your qualifications and the specific requirements at the time of your application.

Step 6: Receive Your Registration Certificate

  • Once your application is approved, you will receive a registration certificate from the CIPC. This certificate officially recognizes you as a registered BRP, authorized to practice in South Africa.

Step 7: Annual Renewal and Continuous Professional Development

  • Renew your registration annually by submitting the required forms and paying the renewal fee to the CIPC. The details and deadlines for annual renewal are provided by the CIPC.
  • Engage in Continuous Professional Development (CPD) to maintain and update your skills and knowledge. CPD activities may include attending workshops, seminars, and courses relevant to business rescue practice. Evidence of CPD is often required for the renewal of your registration.

Step 8: Compliance and Ethical Standards

  • Adhere to the legal, professional, and ethical standards set by the CIPC and any relevant professional bodies. This includes maintaining confidentiality, avoiding conflicts of interest, and acting in the best interests of the distressed business and its stakeholders.

Building Your Practice

Building a practice as a Business Rescue Practitioner (BRP) in South Africa for beginners involves a strategic approach to positioning yourself in the market, networking, and continuously enhancing your skills. Here’s how you can start and grow your practice:

1. Define Your Niche

  • Specialize Based on Industry or Business Size: Consider focusing on specific industries where you have experience or see a high demand for business rescue services. Alternatively, you might specialize in small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) or larger corporations, depending on your expertise and interest.
  • Identify Unique Selling Points (USPs): Determine what sets you apart from other BRPs—this could be your background in a specific sector, a unique approach to business rescue, or additional qualifications.

2. Build a Professional Network

  • Engage with Industry Associations: Joining professional bodies such as the South African Restructuring and Insolvency Practitioners Association (SARIPA) can provide valuable networking opportunities, access to industry insights, and professional development resources.
  • Connect with Related Professionals: Develop relationships with accountants, lawyers, and financial advisors who can refer clients to you or offer complementary services to your clients.
  • Attend Industry Events: Participate in seminars, workshops, and conferences related to business rescue and restructuring to meet potential clients and collaborators.

3. Establish Your Online Presence

  • Develop a Professional Website: Create a website that showcases your services, qualifications, and past successes. Include testimonials from satisfied clients, if possible, to build credibility.
  • Leverage Social Media and Online Platforms: Use LinkedIn and other social media platforms to share insights, engage with content relevant to business rescue, and connect with potential clients and industry peers.

4. Market Your Services

  • Content Marketing: Publish articles, blog posts, and case studies that highlight your expertise and knowledge in business rescue. This can help establish you as a thought leader in your field.
  • Networking and Referrals: Encourage satisfied clients to refer others to your services. Word-of-mouth is a powerful tool in building a professional practice.

5. Continuous Learning and Development

  • Stay Abreast of Industry Trends: The business rescue field is dynamic, with laws and regulations frequently updating. Stay informed through continuous education and professional development.
  • Seek Mentorship: Find a mentor with extensive experience in business rescue to provide guidance, share insights, and help navigate challenges as you build your practice.

6. Set Up Your Practice Infrastructure

  • Operational Needs: Consider the logistical aspects of your practice, such as office space (if needed), accounting software, and communication tools.
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance: Ensure you have adequate insurance to cover your professional practice, providing peace of mind for you and your clients.

7. Offer Exceptional Service

  • Build Strong Client Relationships: Prioritize clear communication, empathy, and transparency in your dealings with clients. Your reputation will grow as you consistently deliver successful outcomes.
  • Follow-Up and Feedback: After completing a business rescue operation, follow up with clients to assess the long-term impact of your work. Use feedback to improve your services.



Embarking on a career as a Business Rescue Practitioner in South Africa is a journey that combines rigorous academic preparation, practical experience, and a deep commitment to ethical practice.

The pathway to becoming a BRP involves obtaining the necessary qualifications, gaining relevant experience, navigating the certification and registration processes, and ultimately, building a successful practice.

By adhering to the standards and continuously enhancing their skills, BRPs play a crucial role in the economic fabric of South Africa, providing a lifeline to distressed businesses.

This rewarding career not only demands expertise and dedication but also offers the opportunity to make a significant impact on the country’s business landscape.


What is the requirements of a business rescue practitioner?

Relevant degree (e.g., in law, accounting, or business management).
Professional certifications or qualifications related to business rescue or insolvency.
Registration with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) in South Africa.
Demonstrable experience in business management, financial management, or law.

How much do business rescue practitioners earn in South Africa?

Earnings vary widely based on experience, the complexity of cases, and the practitioner’s success rate. On average, BRPs can earn from R1,200 to R3,500 per hour.

How much can a business rescue practitioner charge in South Africa?

Rates can vary significantly; however, they typically range from R1,200 to R3,500 per hour for their services, subject to the approval of the company’s creditors and the complexity of the rescue operation.

Do employees get paid during business rescue?

Yes, employees should continue to be paid during the business rescue process as they are considered preferential creditors under South African law.

How much do business rescue practitioners earn?

As mentioned, earnings can range significantly but are generally within the hourly rates of R1,200 to R3,500, depending on various factors including experience and case complexity.

Who appoints a business rescue practitioner in South Africa?

A BRP is appointed either by the board of a company when it resolves to enter business rescue or by the court on application by an affected party. The appointment is subject to confirmation by the CIPC.

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Meet Ankit Kumar holding a master's degree in Museology, Ankit Kumar brings a profound understanding of the cultural and historical significance of museums. With a passion for research and a keen interest in writing, they have not only excelled in guiding individuals in their career paths but also have a flair for creating insightful and engaging blogs on various aspects of museology as well as different professions.

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