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New number plates for South Africa – Not just Gauteng

In his annual State of the Province Address (SOPA), Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi said that the National Department of Transport has developed a draft legislation on new number plates that will be applicable to all nine provinces in the country, not exclusively to Gauteng.

This follows the announcement that South Africa’s economic hub will be getting new “tamper-proof” vehicle identifiers in an effort to combat vehicle-related crime in the province.

“Stolen and hijacked cars are central to crime that is committed in our province. The majority of these vehicles use fake number plates; the majority of these vehicles use duplicate number plates. Fortunately, the current system that we have is running out of numeric letters, and we need to introduce new number plates in our province so that we can strengthen our fight against crime,” said Lesufi at SOPA.

“The National Department of Transport has developed a draft legislation to ensure that this introduction is common across all nine provinces, and as soon as the minister of transport concurs to this legislation, Gauteng will be ready to ensure that we introduce new number plates to avoid criminals using wrong things to commit crime.”

The new plates will be linked to a national cloud-backed database and feature a unique QR code for easy identification and tracking, according to the Gauteng Department of Transport.

Once they are launched, every road user in Gauteng will have to re-register their vehicle to get a new plate. This can be done voluntarily, but will be mandatory when applying for a new vehicle licence disc, said Lesufi.

Mixed messages

There have been plenty of mixed messages from the Gauteng authorities about the new number plates, including on how they will look and when they will be introduced.

Lesufi stated that the province is definitively running out of alphanumeric combinations for new vehicle registrations which has supported the development of safer and more secure number plates, suggesting that the upgraded plates will have a different alphanumeric format than the current ones.

However, responding to queries from TopAuto in 2023, the GDoT said: “The current series (AA 11 AA GP) is not expected to change until it is exhausted. It is estimated the series will last until around 2038.”

In addition, Lesufi previously said that he would show off a prototype of these new plates by December 2023, which came and went, and then he said he’d show it at SOPA, which again, did not happen.

He also said that the official launch of the revised vehicle identifiers will take place on 1 April 2024.

However, considering the minister of transport must first sign off on the draft legislation before it can be put into practice, coupled with the fact that two deadlines for the prototype’s unveiling have been ignored thus far, it remains to be seen whether April will truly hold the launch of the safer number plates and whether they will have a new alphanumeric format or not.

Headline image source: Worldlicenseplates.com 

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