1.   Short title


   2.   Act not to apply to certain societies


   3.   Interpretation


   4.   Appointment of Registrar of Societies


   5.   Societies deemed to be established in Botswana


   6.   Application for registration or exemption from registration of societies


   7.   Powers and duties of Registrar in connection with registration of societies


   8.   Appeal against refusal to register society


   9.   Register of societies


   10.   Rescission of exemption from registration


   11.   Cancellation of registration


   12.   Registered societies to obtain consent of Registrar before changing name, constitution, etc.


   13.   Exempted societies to inform Registrar of change of name, etc.


   14.   Publication of registration, etc.


   15.   Cessation of existence of a society


   16.   Information to be furnished by societies


   17.   Registrar may call for audited accounts


   18.   Persons responsible for supplying information


   19.   Discretion to publish information for benefit of members


   20.   Illegal society


   21.   Penalties on office-bearer, etc. of illegal society


   22.   Penalties on members of illegal society


   23.   Person allowing illegal society on premises


   24.   Presumptions


   25.   Presumption of membership, etc., of society


   26.   Order for winding up affairs of illegal society, effect and suspension thereof


   27.   Application of assets of illegal society under winding up order


   28.   Search warrants


   29.   Provisions regarding search warrants


   30.   Powers of Registrar to summon witnesses


   31.   Minister to adjudicate property disputes between societies


   31A.   Appeal against decisions of the Council


   32.   Forfeiture


   33.   Registered office


   34.   Notice of change of officers


   35.   Service of documents


   36.   Evidence


   37.   Inspection of documents


   38.   Power of Minister to amend Schedule


   39.   Regulations







Act 19, 1972,
Act 11, 1978,
Act 32, 1979,
Act 23, 1983,
S.I. 110, 1983,
S.I. 102, 2010,
Act 9, 2015,
Act 10, 2016,
S.I. 119, 2016,
S.I. 120, 2016.

An Act to provide for the registration of societies.

[Date of Commencement: 9th June, 1972]


1.   Short title

   This Act may be cited as the Societies Act.


2.   Act not to apply to certain societies

   This Act shall not apply to any society which is an unlawful society within the meaning of section 66(2) of the Penal Code.


3.   Interpretation

   (1) In this Act, except where the context otherwise requires-

   "Council" means the Advisory and Arbitration Council established under section 31;

   "declared objects", in relation to any society, means the objects for which it exists declared by such society at the time of, and contained in, the application of such society for registration, or any subsequent variation of such objects made in accordance with regulations made under this Act;

   "exempted society" means any society for the time being exempted from registration under this Act;

   "faith based organization" means a system of religious beliefs expressed in a particular system of faith and worship;

   "local society" ...;

   "officer-bearer" of a society means any elected, appointed, or co-opted person who is a member of the board, committee or governing body thereof;

   "person" for purposes of membership of a society means an individual who has reached the age of majority, and includes a registered society;

   "registered society" means any society for the time being registered under this Act;

   "Registrar" means the officer appointed as Registrar of Societies under section 4(1) and includes any Deputy Registrar of Societies or Assistant Registrar of Societies who has been authorized by the Registrar of Societies to exercise functions on his behalf;

   "society" includes-


   (a)   any association of 150 or more persons, formed for religious purposes; and


   (b)   any club, company, partnership or association of 20 or more persons, whatever its nature or objects, but does not include-


      (i)   any company as defined by the Companies Act, or any company to which Part XXIV of that Act applies which has complied with the requirements of section 345 of that Act;


      (ii)   any company or association constituted under any other written law for the time being in force in Botswana;


      (iii)   any trade union, federation of trade unions or employers' organization registered under the Trade Unions and Employers' Organizations Act;


      (iv)   any club, company, partnership or association consisting of not more than 30 persons, formed for the sole purpose of carrying on any lawful business;


      (v)   any co-operative society, registered under the Co-operative Societies Act;


      (vi)   any board of governors, local education authority, school committee or similar organization established under the Education Act;


      (vii)   any building society registered under the Building Societies Act;


      (viii)   any political party listed in the Schedule; or


      (ix)   any society or class of society which may be declared not to be a society for the purposes of this Act.

   (2) Where any body of persons, whether corporate or unincorporate is a member of an association, all members of such body shall be deemed to be members of such association.


4.   Appointment of Registrar of Societies

   (1) The Minister shall appoint a Registrar of Societies, and such number of Deputy Registrars of Societies and Assistant Registrars of Societies as he may consider necessary for the purposes of this Act.

   (2) No suit shall lie against any person appointed under subsection (1) for any act done by him in good faith without negligence in the exercise of any power or performance of any duty conferred or imposed on him by this Act.


5.   Societies deemed to be established in Botswana

   (1) A society shall be deemed to be established in Botswana although it is organized and has its headquarters or chief place of business outside Botswana, if at least two thirds of its office-bearers are Batswana and reside in Botswana.

   (2) A society shall not be deemed to be established in terms of subsection (1), if-


   (a)   it is organized and is operating wholly outside Botswana;


   (b)   no office, place of business or place of meeting is maintained or used in Botswana by such society or by any person on its behalf;


   (c)   no register of any of the members of such society is kept in Botswana; and


   (d)   no subscriptions are collected or solicited in Botswana by the society or by any person on its behalf.


6.   Application for registration or exemption from registration of societies

   (1) A society shall, in the manner prescribed and within 28 days of its formation, or of the adoption of its constitution, or of its rules, regulations or bye-laws, make an application to the Registrar for registration or for exemption from registration under this Act.

   (2) Subject to sections 7 and 11(7)-


   (a)   upon application being made by a society for registration under this Act, and such application being approved, the Registrar shall register the society; and


   (b)   upon application being made by a society for exemption from registration under this Act, the Registrar may either grant such exemption with the approval of the Minister or refuse such exemption in which case the Registrar shall treat the application for exemption as an application for registration under this Act and shall, if the application meets the requirements of the Act, register the society.

   (3) Before registering or refusing to register or granting or refusing to grant an exemption from registration to a society, the Registrar may-


   (a)   require the society to provide him, in writing or otherwise, with such further information as he thinks is necessary; and


   (b)   inspect the proposed premises of the society.

   (4) On registering or exempting from registration a society, the Registrar shall issue to the society a certificate in the prescribed form, which certificate shall be evidence of registration or of exemption from registration of the society, as the case may be.

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