South Africa Set To Launch New Number Plates Come 2017


South Africa’s transport department is set to release new plate number next year 2017 as was officially announced by the department in the early months of 2015.

Following earlier announced plans by the Department of Transport to make a few changes on the country’s plate number, Arrive Alive stated at a recent conference that the new plate numbers are due in 2017 and that the plates must be renewed every five years as was discussed at the 2016 TruckX conference.

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The letters and figures on the plates are expected to display black for public transport vehicles; Blue for general vehicles and personalized plate numbers; Red for government vehicles; and Green for diplomatic vehicles.

The plate will also display:

  • SA flag on the top left corner.
  • Licence number and licence mark of the province.
  • The name of the province under the SA flag, and centred on top of the number plate.

Meanwhile, Justice Project South Africa chairman Howard Dembovsky told MyBroadband that as far as he knows, the regulations for new number plates are yet to be promulgated.

He said when this happens, the regulations may differ, depending on how comments on the regulations are handled by the transport minister.

personalized and Govt plate


Under the new law, the new plate numbers will contain

  • SABS certification below the licence mark of the province.
• Four dimensional bar code with QR code.
• The abbreviated name of the manufacturer of the blank number plate.
• The unique non-transferable of the blank number plate.


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Dembovsky however, noted that the new plate number is associated with some positve and negative sides. His description of the two sides inlude:

Positive Side Of the New Plate Numbers

  • Metal number plates don’t melt as easily as plastic plates in a fire/accident.
  • Retro-reflective sheeting used on number plates generally has a lifespan of five years – replacing plates every five years will keep them visible.
  • Standardising South Africa’s number plates is way overdue. South Africa is a country, not a federation of states.


  • The QR barcode will most likely only be of benefit to the companies who generate them or sell equipment to read them. It is unlikely most traffic officers will have “4D QR barcode” readers.
  • There is no indication whether licensing authorities will charge an additional fee for number plate renewal. If they do charge, this can only be regarded as a stealth tax.
  • Motorists will have to spend more on their vehicles, but if you amortise the cost of a set of new plates (around R250) over 5 years, no one should complain too much

“The JPSA does not think this is a bad idea, however, it would be nice if our authorities could come up with a concrete plan to combat corruption and fraud, which is the biggest killer on South Africa’s roads today,” said Dembovsky.

The draft regulation amendments were opened to public comment at the time of their publication.

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