Do you want to start a butchery in South Africa and need a license? If YES, here is a detailed guide on how to get a butcher license in South Africa.

The work of a butcher is a fairly straight forward one. They sell meat to the general public and to businesses such as restaurants and caterers who need meat to complement their dish. In addition to selling meat, they also produce meat products such as biltong, boerewors, pickled meat and cold meat products.

In addition to the obvious source of buying meat and other stock they may need, butchers also have to take delivery and/or collect stock, store meat the proper way and know how to operate the various machinery. Even though it may be over looked by some, it is also proper for a butcher to have adequate people skills in order to properly meet the needs of their customers in addition to offering advice on the best meat types, cut sizes and preparation method for them.

However, before you can open up your butcher shop to sell meat in South Africa, you will need to get a license. As a matter of fact, according to the Meat Industry Act 1993, you will not be able to start operating your butcher shop without a license that has been issued by PrimeSafe.

In order to get your PrimeSafe license you will have to:

  • Make sure that your store meets up with the standard construction requirements.
  • Have a written agreement with a PrimeSafe approved third party auditor.
  • Submit a license application together with the applicable fee.

You should endeavor to submit your application for a PrimeSafe license at least ten days before the day you intend to open up your butcher store.

Application form

You can either make your application online or you can download the application form and fill it.

For the online application, you will be required to make a payment with your credit card; however, master card is the only accepted card for this payment. You will have to bear in mind that an addition fee of 0.35% of the total fee payable will apply. You should also note that the online form is strictly for only new applications as this method cannot be used to renew an expired butchers license.

Renewing Applications

The license period for a retail butcher shop license ranges from 1 January to 31 December. You will be sent an application by PrimeSafe for you to renew your license sometime around November. It is very important that you should renew your license before the license period ends so as to ensure that your license is always up to date to prevent your business from being shut down because you were operating with an invalid license.

If you fail to renew your license by December, you will have to pay a penalty and the annual renewal fee as well.

5 Requirements for Getting a Butchers License in South Africa

1. Name of Applicant and Nominated Operator: first, you will need to get a name under which your license will operate. The entity making the application can be either you, a partnership or your company. However, you should bear in mind that Primesafe will not allow you to use a business or trading name as an applicant.

In addition, you will be required to nominate an operator for your shop. The position of an operator is a very important one as he or she will be in charge of what goes on in the shop. In the event that the applicant is a company, then the operator will have to be an employee of the company.

In the event that the applicant is a partnership, the operator will have to be a partner. However, if the applicant is a person, the operator will automatically have to be that person.

2. Third Party Auditor: next, you will have to find a third party auditor that has been approved by PrimeSafe for your application. A third party auditor is engaged by you to conduct audits of your facility once a license has been granted by PrimeSafe. You will then have to contact the third party auditor and have an agreement in writing for auditing services before you submit your application.

You will need to prove to Primesafe that you actually engaged the services of a third party auditor to conduct audits of your shop else the license will not be given to you.

In the event that the confirmation of auditing service has not been received within 30 days of the pre-license inspection, your application will be revoked. In this scenario, they will refund the annual fee that you paid, however, you will not be refunded your application fee.

3. Construction Inspection: before you submit your application, you will need to make sure that your facility is in line with all the necessary standards else your application maybe denied.

4. Standards and guidelines: as soon as your application has been processed, you will be contacted by a PrimeSafe Licensing Manager who will liaise with you in order to determine a suitable time to come for the pre-license inspection of your facility to see if it is complainant with the relevant standards that have already been stipulated for butchers.

When it has been determined that your facility is in compliance with the construction requirements, you will then be allowed to start operation. However, in the event that you do not wish to startup your business right away, you will need to nominate a commencement date within 30 days of the inspection.

When this period elapses and you are yet to start your operations, your application will be cancelled. The annual fee will be refunded, however, you will have to forfeit your application fee.

If your facility is not up to the standard of the construction requirements, you will be given an additional 30 days for you to solve the issues that have been detected. You will be given exact details of the issues that have been found out in writing by the PrimeSafe Licensing Manager. Subsequently, another inspection of your facility will be done in order to find out if you have resolved the issues that were pointed out.

In the event that you have not been able to solve the issues that were detected within 30 days after the initial inspection, your application will be cancelled. The annual fee will be refunded and the application fee forfeited.

5. Issuance of License: you will be given a license to operate a retail butcher store when it has been confirmed that the following standards have been met.

  • You made use of the services of an auditing services of a PrimeSafe approved third party auditor; and
  • Your facility complies with the construction requirements of the relevant standard.

You will receive a copy of the following documents: License certificate, License conditions, Relevant standards and guidelines and PrimeSafe Licensee Charter. It is very important that you have a clear understanding of the condition of your license. If you have any confusion whatsoever, you should contact the PrimeSafe office.