Number Plate Requirements In South Africa

If you are planning to buy your first vehicle or considering applying for a personalized number plate, here’s some helpful information to ensure you stay on the right side of the law.

Standard number plates

All vehicle owners are required by law to register their new, used or built-up vehicles when they finance the sale of the vehicle or buy a vehicle without external financing.

The owner, as the person who will enjoy the use of the vehicle, will license the vehicle. The vehicle registration and licensing are recorded on the National Traffic Information System (eNaTIS).

Once this has been done, eNaTIS will generate a new licence plate number for you which will be embossed by a registered number plate manufacturer.

If you are buying a new vehicle, but want to keep your current licence plate number, you need to submit an application to the Motor Vehicle Administration office. For further information, please contact:

New licence marks

On Friday 15 November 2019, Provincial Minister of Transport and Public Works Bonginkosi Madikizela  published a notice of his intention to determine that the licence mark for the Province of the Western Cape is “WC” (Provincial Notice 115/2019, Provincial Gazette Extraordinary 8174). The deadline for comments was 13 December 2019.

The proposed new WC licence numbers will consist of a combination of two letters, two numbers and two letters, in any sequence, and end with the licence mark “WC”.  No licence numbers may contain the letters A, E, I, O, U or Q. Licence numbers beginning with the letter G will be reserved for government vehicles

Special number plates

Motor vehicle owners can apply for special and personalized number plates. Applications can be submitted directly to the Transport Management branch, or you can approach the nearest motor vehicle registering authority.

To apply for a special number plate, you need to complete and return application form SLN1, with a copy of your official ID. Here is some more information on how to apply for a personalized number plate.

Number plate manufacturers

In terms of the National Road Traffic Act, anyone manufacturing or selling licence plates must be registered.

You apply to be a registered licence plate manufacturer by completing form MNP and submitting it to the Department of Transport and Public Works’ Traffic Law Administration directorate, who can also be contacted for more information.

Rules and regulations as stipulated in the National Road Traffic Act (Act 93 of 1996):

  1. All vehicles are required to have two number plates – one at the back and one at the front – except for motor cycles which only requires one number plate at the back. Fines are applicable if motorists are not complying with this rule. 
  2. If your number plate is obscured by a permanent obstruction like a tow bar, it will be considered unlawful. The tow bar needs to be fitted so that it does not obscure or hide the licence number on the plate. However, a bicycle rack, or any other temporary obstruction, is allowed as long as a second plate is attached to the rack to be visible. The rack must be removed when not in use.
  3. Any duplicate licence number/number plate can be reported to the Motor Vehicle Administration Section. A person can report it to: 
    Helpline: 021 483 5995

How do I get a number plate in South Africa?

What you should do

  1. Go to your nearest registering authority and complete an application form that will be provided by them.
  2. Submit: a certified copy of your identity document. a vehicle registration certificate. proof of presidential address e.g. utility account.
  3. Pay the required fee.

How much does a normal number plate cost in South Africa?

Also to know is, how much does a normal number plate cost in South Africa? According to the Western Cape’s pricing guidelines, a plate with six digits or letters in the province will cost R2,000. However, this rises to R10,000 for a plate with a single alpha or numeric character.