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WATCH: Number-plate 'flipper' spotted in Joburg - how it works and why it's against the law

2018-02-26 19:00

Image: Twitter / Arrive Alive

Janine Van der Post

Cape Town - A video posted to Twitter, via Arrive Alive, shows a driver using a number-plate flipper in traffic. The device can be used to shield a vehicle's licence plate from cameras and the authorities.

While these number-plate devices are illegal in South Africa, some motorists use it to try and defeat the ends of justice by speeding and avoiding traffic fines and/or tolls.

What does the law say?

Law for All Adv. Jackie Nagtegaal says: "The law is pretty clear on this subject: motorists are legally required to have two unobscured number plates, one at the front and the other at the back of the vehicle.  

"Some motorists make use of sneaky tricks, such as reflective sprays, laser jammers and, more recently, devices that hide registration plates, to avoid being identified by speed cameras. All of these methods are illegal and wrongdoers could face criminal charges for defeating the ends of justice."

Watch the video below:

What do you think about illegal number plate devices? Email us!

'Number plate flippers'

Vehicle specialist and owner of Auto-Wizz, Moinuddin Gaibe, says illegal number plate devices, or 'number plate flippers' as they are known, "are illegal to own but not illegal to sell".

Gaibe says: "We have previously fitted several vehicles with these number plate flippers, but we do not sell them. They cost anything between R2500 to R4000. 

"If you know what you're looking for, these devices are easy to spot. The number plates are fatter and wider than normal South African plates because these devices are made for international markets. But with that said, local guys find ways to make it look as legit as possible. 

"The number plate fitters can be bought from the underground online sites."

Gaibe also says that initially these devices were created for showroom floor displays at dealerships or events, "but criminals have discovered it could be used for illegal acts or to defeat the ends of justice."

READ: Dashboard cameras and road safety

However, on further investigation, Wheels24 found that these devices could be purchased on online.

Gaibe also says: "The device is electronically linked and there are various options. The driver can either have the plates controlled by the touch of a button on a remote control, or have a switch installed in the vehicle."

There are also devices the have shutters where a blank black screen rolls over the existing number plate. 

Watch how a number plate flipper device works:



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