All you need to know about number plates
If you are planning to buy your first vehicle or considering applying for a personalised 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
CA and CAW licence numbers are running out which means new numbers will be allocated to the City of Cape Town and George registering authorities. On 1 December 2017, Minister Donald Grant called for comments on the allocation of CAA licence numbers when the current CA numbers are depleted in the City of Cape Town.
The change won't affect current CA and CAW licence number users.
Read more on the new licence marks for the City of Cape Town and George registering authorities
- City of Cape Town to get new “CAA” licence marks as “CA” registrations run out
- George to get additional vehicle licence mark
- Provincial Gazette 7861
- Current Western Cape licence marks
Motor vehicle owners can apply for special and personalised 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 personalised number plate.
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):
- 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 te back. Fines are applicable if motorists are not complying with this rule.
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.
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