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SA's new number plates: More than 26 000 readers think it's a bad idea

2016-08-12 13:06

UPSETTING MOTORISTS: Many South African motorists believe the proposed new number plates are part of a money-making scheme.Image: Wheels24/Marcel Trout

Cape Town - Earlier in August, Wheels24 reported that South African motorists will receive new number plates as per a Government Gazette published by the Department of Transport (DoT).

News of the new number plates first came to light in 2015 when the department sent out a notice informing South Africans of its intended plan of action.  

Initially the Department of Transport denied that it intends to replace vehicle number plates, claiming that the proposal is a fabrication. Mere days later the DoT stated that SA would in fact receive new plates though did not confirm when the rollout would begin.

False accusations, no apologies made

Howard Dembovsky, JPSA spokesperson, said: "Justice Project South Africa (JPSA) has consistently maintained that the proposed amendments contained in Government Gazette 38430 of 28 January 2015 have not been promulgated yet and therefore, people should avoid “getting their nickers in a knot” about them."

READ: DoT's allegations of fraud 'clearly false' - JPSA responds to SA number plates confusion

However, JPSA was alarmed to see the comments made by Transport Department spokesperson, Ishmael Mnisi, stating that: “the document that has been doing the rounds is not authentic and neither has the department made a determination to the effect reflected therein.”

Dembovsky said: "JPSA is very concerned about the fact that it is quite clear that the head does not appear to know what the tail is doing at the Department of Transport. Mr Mnisi’s allegations of fraud, fabrication and rumour-mongering were quite clearly false and the Department of Transport has not so much as had the common decency to apologise for his actions."

Voting booth

We asked Wheels24 readers what they think of the new number plates for SA?

The majority (26 088, 87%) believe the new plates are part of a money-making scheme. Only 868 (3%) respondents think the proposed plates look great and 2869 users (10%) says it makes no difference to them if number plates are changed. 

Angry readers respond

Mpho Monyane: We are already paying when renewing our driving licenses every time we lost cards and the every period of five years for eye test purpose but for number plates, why? This is another scam to replace a failed project of e-tolling.

Jacques Du Preez: It is all just another money making racket. Milking the consumers again. We must all stand together just like with the e-tolls and say NO.

Kate Stewart: I think it s ridiculous. There are so many low income people that battle to make ends meet now it s more money to fork out. The government never stop hitting the low income people. As it is we have to renew our drivers licences every 5 years. 

Adolph Dube: Don't you think this money could be better used for other important issues.

Kusile: This is crazy to start all over again.So somebody is milking the system to renew the plates every 5 years. Another crazy moneymaking scam.

Rudie van Wyk: I think this is bull, this is just another way of making money out of people.
1. the government thinks they can copy other countries which is 1st world countries please take note we are 3rd world country. 
South Africa is not ready for changes yet. The government needs to concentrate on the country to fix the problems we are facing currently, like mainly corruption, racial, economic and the state the country is in.
2. How is the poor people going to afford this. 
3. is the mini bus Taxis also going to be part of this due to that they get away with everything, and what will stop them to make fake plates.
4. I think the money that is used to make these plates could have gone to the hospitals that needs attention and free education.
5. who benefit from this? Well I can tell you this not the public the government will be benefiting from this.


Willy Steincke: This us typical for Government, we have many road problems but keep on ignoring the same, namely:
1. Bad Driving in general, including and specially by the Gov. Officials (blue light Patrol) as well as the Police ( no safety Belts!-Cell Phones, eating and drinking in Police cars) etc
2. Ignorant, Unlawful and Dangerous Driving by the Minibus Taxis-ignored by the Police (the Driver and Car should be taking of the Road immediately)
3. This Taxis are by +/- 30 % not Roadworthy, Street Repairs etc, overloading and Speed !! A R/W purchased the test ??
4. Bad or to often complete missing Road signage
5. Attending to the never ending Window Washing Problems-this is becoming a pest!!
One could carry on……….
This is obviously a typically Tender scam - like the unusable Bicycle lanes in the inner city-Soweto and  specially in Braamfontein-Johannesburg and others.

Robert Fienberg: Changing Number Plates in 2017 is totally unnecessary and is a waste of money. With the new passports, new ID cards, e-tolls, petrol going up, food prices going up and also the DT2 with SABC as well including all the taxes it is all too much to accommodate anymore expenses. This will cause problems and maybe even a war because taxis will not pay for this. They will protest. Others such as myself have financial problems and cannot afford to waste more money. I cannot do the new number plates. It can only apply to new cars purchased from 2017.

Thabang Lehoko: Wow, South African public going to be turned into cash cows by the government again. Remember the when the present drivers licences were introduced, we were told about the security features and all that mumbo jumbo and they are also renewable. The person that came with the idea or who had a stake in that project was a top official in government. I wonder which official is involved this time around. What do this people take us for especially after they imposed the e-tolls in Gauteng? One day the people will rise up against these lunacy and unfortunately the gains made are going to be destroyed,mark my words there are signs already.

Leonard Schneider: Who is behind this unnecessary proposal, have they not got enough work for law enforcement to worry about but also now new number plates as well, how will this affect personalised numbers?
Do the authorities need more people to employ to do administration work to see that this unneeded change is implemented and maintained until the next time they find something else to rip the motorists off with?
What we have now is more than adequate!!

Nkululeko Macakati: Here is another one of the many attempts at self-enrichment. I really do not mind a once off  and justifiable change. But as for this. I am not sure why we are changing the plates in the First place. As for the five yearly renewal. I think this is a reap off that needs to be opposed with all we have. Just like the e-Tolls. Someone is being set up to have a lifelong or even generational wealth generating machine through this unjust proposal.

John Gibbs: I am absolutely livid. I have no problem with a once-off system upgrade (with new plates for all) if this is necessary to properly keep track of exploding number of vehicles - but the upgrade should make things BETTER for all - not worse! 

It should make the licencing process - Quicker, cheaper, simpler, transparent... and thus less able to provide dark corners where slimy officials can do their dirty fleecing of the hard-working, law-abiding public. 

With modern technology (and common sense) it must be possible to arrange a system that requires far less human effort (and cost) than previously. It is clear what is going on here - and it is criminal. Why should a simple number plate (which is easily physically able to perform its duty for decades) have to be replaced every five years? If the same owner still owns the same vehicle and still resides at the same physical address, it just makes absolute sense that his number plate DOES NOT CHANGE EITHER! Hell, why don't we all have to change our post box numbers every five years too? A different font every five years? What's next, our middle names?


Russ Wood: But wasn't there a law a few years ago that ALL number plates were to be put on to cars with non-removable attachments? So how are people supposed to change the plates? And I guess that the minister of transport is trying to make the plates like the USA, where the plates (renewed each year) is your licence.
Sigh - yet another money-making scam...


Megan: Like South Africa NEEDS to change something that is a complete waste of Tax Payers money !??!  I do not understand or comprehend the logic behind this decision.  Surely there are other, more pressing matters, that we can focus spending the money on.  You DO NOT GET MY VOTE, if it went to that.
Just saying...

Jenny Churchill: Is this a bad April fool joke that you have sent out 4 months after the event? Never heard anything so ridiculous in my life!If it is true I will treat it in the same way I do the e-toll saga – I will not comply…

Alistair Wessels: I think this is a money making scheme with potential corruption practices!
I have not read anything that says it will aid in crime prevention, for that is theonly reason I will support it. How will this benefit the motorists? Why not have motorists have their vehicles
sent for roadworthy tests every 5 years – no roadworthy certificate, no vehicle licence disc. Renewing vehicle number plates every 5 years does not make sense, only makes financial sense to the
government, a steady supply of more money to mismanage.

Tina: I've read about the new number plates and really can't see the need for it. I think it's just another money making scheme to burden the already beaten tax payer with more expenses!! As a pensioner I just don't have money to contribute to the governments new schemes to rob us from our hard earned money! Government must stop this grabbing game!

Adrian Dommisse: Is this another Schaikdown?

Nico Smit: With the condition of the taxis on the roads and their dis-respect for the law, does the government really thing that the taxi owners and drivers will re-new their plates every five years or will the rest of SA motorist pay and the taxis be exempted. No way I will renew the pales every five year and still have to renew my car license every year, if they feel strongly about this then they should do away with yearly license fees and have this included in the plate renewal fees. 

John Frith: What about motorbikes? The versions pictured simply won't fit?

Coral Bennett: What an expense and another opportunity for corruption in the granting of  approved suppliers. I couldn’t find any reference to the fact that the new license will to be renewed every five years – hope this is not the case. There is absolutely no reason for a number plate to expire except to guarantee someone a permanent client base.


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