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Personalised number plates in SA: 4 things you should know

2016-08-22 09:07

TO DO OR NOT TO DO: Applying for a personalised number plate is not difficult. Here's what you must do... Image: YouTube

Cape Town - Personalised number plates are nothing new in South Africa with many motorists choosing to reflect their personality via word/letter combinations on their cars.

However, though the number plates may be personalised, there are certain regulations and criteria that needs to be met before a plate can be issued. What makes this process difficult is that costs and criteria can differ depending on your province.

READ: Personalised number plates - How it works in SA provinces

According to the Department of Transport: "You can apply to personalise your motor vehicle number plate with any combination of numeric or alpha characters of your choice [subject to the approval of the Member of the Executive Committee’s (MEC), provided that the number is available and is not offensive.

"Your chosen name/number may not exceed seven characters (excluding the provincial mark) and must comply with the requirements of a normal number plate (e.g. it must display the logo of the province) and be displayed in the same manner as the normal number plate. The name/number you use will not be duplicated by someone else."

Wheels24 spoke to Zurika Louw, chief executive officer at the South African Number Plate Association, who shares some more information regarding personalised number plates:

1 What’s legally allowed - can I use foul/vulgar word-letter combinations? Ie. BLKSEM – GP, H@TSEX – GP.

  • Vulgar language is not allowed and the licensing officer will not allocate blatantly vulgar/offensive numbers.

  • Only alpha-numerics are allowed and any symbols, e.g. $, @, etc. would be illegal. Compliant embossing equipment do not contain symbol dyes, which are the specialized tools used to cut or shape the number plate material.

2 Who controls which plates are issued? What can road users do if they've witnessed an inappropriate number plate?

  • The Embosser is another point of control and will not allow the embossing of offensive number plates.

  • Members of the public may also submit complaints to their local metro-police if they feel a particular personalised number is offensive.

READ: PICS - SA drivers to sport new licence plates

3 How much does a personalised number plate cost? Are there different costs depending on character/letters? 

  • Cost varies between provinces and could be between approximately R1000 and R6000.

  • A single alpha-numeric will cost more than the maximum of seven alpha-numerics.

  • The application process for a personalised number plate is the same in each province.

4 I want to sell my vehicle, will it retain the existing personalised plate or can I transfer it to a new vehicle?

  • A personalised number plate becomes the owner’s property and is transferable to a new vehicle. The applicable form must be completed and must be accompanied with acceptable identification of the motor vehicle and the user. The identification of the proxy will be required if the user is an organization.

  • A personalised number plate can also be transferred to a beneficiary in the event of the death of the original user.


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