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FAQs

WHICH LAWS GOVERN SOUTH AFRICAN NUMBER PLATES?

  • The National Road Traffic Act no: 93 of 1996.
  • National Road Traffic Regulations, 2000
  • Provincial Legislation, as published in the relevant national and/or provincial gazettes.
  • The South African National Standard for number plates SANS 1116 parts 1 to 4.

CAN I OPERATE A VEHICLE WITH ONLY ONE NUMBER PLATE?

No, sub-regulation 7(f) of the National Road Traffic Regulations, 2000 states that a “A number plate shall be affixed— f) one to the back and one to the front of all other motor vehicles.”

CAN I CHOOSE A FONT FOR MY NUMBER PLATE?

No, the legal font for South African number plates was specifically designed and the requirements thereof is set out in the SANS 1116 specification.

WHAT IS THE CORRECT WAY OF ATTACHING A NUMBER PLATE?

The legal way of attaching a number plate is defined in sub-regulation 7 of Regulation 35, which states the following:

7. A number plate shall be affixed
(a) in such a manner that it is not easily detachable;
(b) in an upright position or within 30 degrees of such position;
(c) in such a manner that each letter and figure thereon is clearly legible
(d) in such a manner that the whole number plate is clearly visible;
(e) to the back of a motor cycle, motor tricycle, motor quadrucycle or trailer; and
(f) one to the back and one to the front of all other motor vehicles.
Provided that no person shall operate on a public road a motor vehicle first registered on or
after 1 January 2009, unless the number plate fixed to such motor vehicle is affixed within 20
millimetres from the edges by means of 4 millimetres rivets or 4 millimetres one way self
tapping screws either directly onto the motor vehicle or onto an integral part thereof or onto an
intermediate metal holding bracket approved by the Department of Transport, which is
attached to the motor vehicle in such a way that it cannot be removed while the number plate
is affixed to it in the aforesaid manner

I GOT A FINE FOR DISPLAYING THE INCORRECT SQUARE SIZE NUMBER PLATE?

The 250mm x 165mm size number plate may only be used at the back of a vehicle and only if the vehicle’s number plate aperture cannot accommodate the bigger size number plates, e.g. Nissan Tida.

CAN ANYBODY MANUFACTURE NUMBER PLATES?

No, manufacturers and embossers of number plates require a permit from SABS and test reports from the SABS Automotive testing laboratory.

There details can be obtained from the SABS website, www.sabs.co.za

CAN I CHOOSE THE SIZE OF THE ALPHA-NUMERICS?

No, the sizes of the alpha numerics (letters & numbers) are set out in SANS 1116, a long with the three legal number plate sizes, which are as follows:

520mm x 113mm must be embossed with 75mm (height) alpha numerics
250mm x 205mm must be embossed with 75mm (height) alpha numerics
250mm x 165mm must be embossed with 60mm (height) alpha numerics
Note:
The 440mm x 120mm size number plate, which shall bear 75mm alpha numerics, may not be used on vehicles registered for the first time on or after 1 January 2010

WHAT ARE THE LEGAL COLOURS OF THE ALPHA NUMERICS FOR SOUTH AFRICAN NUMBER PLATES?

Sub-regulation 2(c) of Regulation 35 states that number plates “shall have black, dark blue, dark red, or dark green letters and figures, but shall display only black letters and figures in the case of a yellow retro-reflective surface;“

WHAT ARE THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS OF THE NUMBER PLATE BACKGROUND?

Sub-regulation 2(b) of Regulation 35 states a number plate “shall have a yellow or white retro-reflective surface;”.

The retro-reflective material shall bear a legible & indelible validation mark that forms an integral part of the material, as stated in SANS 1116. Such a mark shall identify the manufacturer of the material.

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