Make sure your number plates are legal

By admin
16 July 2013

Don’t get caught with illegal number plates or you could be forced to remove them.

When last did you check your car’s number plates to make sure they meet the legal requirements? If it was some time ago it might be a good idea to check them again. You could be forced to remove them if a traffic cop stops you and they’re not legal.

Last year a Witbank resident, who prefers to remain anonymous, had an unpleasant experience when he was stopped at a roadblock on his way back from holiday. The executive director of a company that supplies equipment to mines says his aluminium number plates with their South African National Standards (SANS) stamp provided by the motor dealer were illegal according to the police officer.

The unfortunate man wasn’t aware his number plates didn’t have the required Mpumalanga provincial logo (a picture of a sunrise) on them. His vehicle was declared unroadworthy and had to be tested all over again.

According to Zurika Louw, chief executive officer of the South African Number Plate Association (SANA), traffic officers have the right to remove number plates if they don’t meet the legal standards. “It’s usually the public who have to pay when it comes to number plates that aren’t legal because the right information often doesn’t reach them.”

A spokesperson for the metro police, Nowellen Petersen, confirms this and says a motorist can be fined or told to immediately remove the number plates if they don’t meet the requirements. He says it’s most important the plates have the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) stamp and that they’re clearly visible at all times.

Motorists should know the requirements their number plates must meet to stay on the right side of the law. Here’s a checklist to help ensure your plates meet the requirements:

  • Only three sizes are acceptable for South African number plates

    - 520 mm x 113 mm

    - 250 mm x 205 mm

    - 250 mm x 165 mm

  • Number plates must have a lifespan of five years or longer.
  • Number plates must have an SABS stamp on them.
  • Number plates must be secured with 4 mm screws.
  • Number plates must have the correct background according to the province’s requirements.
  • Any form of advertising on number plates is illegal.
  • From the end of 2013 Gautengers may no longer have plastic number plates.

- Amber Kriel

(Information provided by SANA)

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