WATCH: Bentley's new 467kW Continental GT

The new third-gen Bentley Continental GT boasts 467kW, 900Nm and a top speed of 333km/h.

Meet VW's SA-bound baby SUV, the T-Cross

A disguised prototype of the T-Cross, VW's new baby crossover SUV, is being tested on public roads.

'It’s not a done deal' - JPSA responds to new SA number plates

2016-08-10 13:04

Howard Dembovsky

NEW SA NUMBER PLATES: Justice Project SA's Howard Dembovsky says motorists should avoid getting upset over proposed/draft amendments until they have been promulgated. Image: Twitter / Arrive Alive

Cape Town - Wheels24 reported that South African motorists could sport new number plates in 2017. According to the Department of Transport (DoT), new number plates are set to be rolled out nationally from 2017.

The new plates will have to be renewed every five years, reports DoT.

'Not a done deal'

Justice Project South Africa's national chairman, Howard Dembovsky, shares some insight.

Dembovsky said: "People should avoid getting their nickers in a knot over proposed/draft amendments. It’s not a done deal until the [fat] lady promulgates it."

Wheels24: Why are the new plates being implemented?

JPSA: I can only speculate on the intent of the legislator, however I do need to point out that this draft amendment HAS NOT been promulgated yet. It was contained in advocate Alta Swanepoel’s presentation of proposed amendments to legislation she presented at TruckEx.

That said, there are two plausible reasons for this change as follows:

1 Standardising South African number plates:
a. Prescribing a national standard instead of allowing MEC’s in each province to pollute number plates with all sorts of unnecessary paraphernalia like background pictures, etc. which has gotten out of hand – particularly in the North West province;
b. Finally getting rid of plastic number plates and replacing them with their metal counterparts which are additionally fire resistant; and
c. Incorporating some form of control which may be electronically verified (4-d QR code) to verify the authenticity of those number plates and their applicability to the vehicle they are on; or

2. Someone has been awarded a tender to supply equipment to generate 4-d QR codes and supply equipment capable of reading it. I shall not offer an opinion as to which it is save to acknowledge that it could be a hybrid of those two elements.

W24: How does government see this as being beneficial to SA motorists and road users?

JPSA: How government sees things is quite often diametrically opposed to how us mere peasants see things. 

W24: Will the new plates curb irresponsible driving and/or reduce road crime?

JPSA: The only thing which will curb irresponsible and indeed, dangerous driving is when, or more succinctly IF traffic law enforcement authorities start enforcing the law properly, visibly and ethically and government eradicates corruption in both, licensing and enforcement of traffic law. 

There are scores of moving violations other than disobeying the speed limit and the number plates on your vehicle is not one of them, yet – in the jurisdiction of the Johannesburg Metro Police Department for example, a maximum of 6% of the infringement notices they issued in 2014/15 were for anything other than camera-based “speeding” infringements.

Just why it is that motorists keep feeding the “pay-as-you-go” camera-based revenue generation model is completely beyond me, but the fact is that they do. 

Maybe, one day, traffic authorities will start enforcing the law properly – thus starting to have an impact on the way people drive. Then again, one day, pigs may fly.

W24: Why the inclusion of a QR code?
JPSA: I have just learned what the 4th dimension in a QR barcode is through a technical guru who posted a comment on MyBroadband. The 4th dimension in a 4-d QR barcode is one of animation. It’s going to be interesting to see how animation is included on an inanimate, unpowered number plate.

W24: What will happen to motorists who do not change their old plates?

JPSA: You will be fined. After all, isn’t that why the majority of road traffic legislation is enacted – to generate fine revenue streams?

W24: Why do I motorists have to renew their plates every five years?

JPSA: This may be because the lifetime of the retro-reflective material used on them is five years.


There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.