New number plates for South African drivers: Here’s the low down

So, it seems official, South Africa’s Department of Transport has indicated that it will follow through with its plan to introduce new number plates. South African drivers may be sporting these new plates from as early as the end of this year.

Here are 5 things you need to take note of.

1. Like your driver’s licence, your number plate will have to be renewed every 5 years.

2. There will be a significant change in the look of your number plate. According to the proposed changes, new number plates will have to feature:

  • A certified stamp of approval from the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS)
  • South African National Flag on top left corner
  • The name of the province under the South African Flag
  • Licence number and licence mark of the province
  • Four-dimensional barcode with the QR code that contains the registration number of the manufacturer of blank number plates
  • The name of the province in which the vehicle is registered
  • The sequence number on the bottom left of the number plate

3. There will be a colour coding system, with the lettering and figures of general number plates set in blue, government vehicles red, diplomatic vehicles green and public transport vehicles black.

4. All info will be embossed on an aluminium plate and coated with a retro-reflective surface – according to the Department, aluminium plates will last longer than the current plastic plates and won’t burn as easily in the unfortunate event of an accident.

5. Personalised number plates will still be allowed, but will have to stick to the new rules, and will have to be set in blue. What’s more, personalised number plates may not contain any vulgar or offensive language or symbols (only numbers and letters will be allowed).

Now the big question, why oh why is it changing?

Apparently, this is part of the Department of Transport’s strategy to standardise number plates in South Africa. The Department said: “The new security features of the number plates are part of the broad road safety strategy, which will ensure that we have the right vehicles on our roads.”

So, there you have it.


Hi-Quiz Answer: False, personalised number plates will still be allowed, but will have to stick to the new rules, and will have to be set in blue.