…Plan B for When the Cops Stop me Again!

Thanks to my reader Brenda I’m now able to share with you what precisely you need to carry with you in your car at all times while travelling on South Africa’s roads. It should save Noisette from being threatened to be arrested again for not carrying a passport when driving to the airport, and it should save my other reader Jozie Days from almost being arrested and having to pay a fine for not carrying a marriage certificate, her passport, AND a permission from her husband allowing her to drive the car (is this Saudi Arabia or what?).

What you need is to print out a section from the South African National Road Traffic Act, the full version of which you will find here. The section in question is 110,Conditions for acknowledgement and exchange of driving licence not issued in terms of Act, and international driving permit.” I’ve pasted that section for you below. It clearly states the rules governing foreign licenses: They have to be in English (or another one of South Africa’s eleven official languages, but chances are you won’t be carrying around a license in Sotho or Xhosa), and they have to contain a picture of you and your signature. And, of course, they have to still be valid (i.e. you can’t carry around an expired license). That’s it. Nothing else. Should you become a permanent resident of South Africa, you have a year to apply for a South African license, but until that time, your foreign license is perfectly fine.

Print out the below, highlight the part about the international/foreign driver’s license being valid as long as it is in English and contains your photo, put it in your glove compartment or with your license, and shove it in the face of whoever stops you again and is trying to pull the wool over your eyes in hopes of a hefty bribe.

A big thanks again to Brenda for sharing exactly what I’d been looking for!

Paste this into Word and print
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South African National Road Traffic Act
No. 93 of 1996
CHAPTER V
FITNESS OF DRIVERS
Part II
Learner’s and driving licences

Conditions for acknowledgement and exchange of driving licence not issued in terms of Act, and international driving permit
110. (1) Subject to subregulation (3), a driving licence referred to in section 23(1)(a) of the Act, issued while the holder of it was not permanently or ordinarily resident in the Republic, shall, for the period for, and subject to the conditions under which it was issued, be deemed to be a valid licence for the purposes of Chapter IV of the Act, if–
  1. (i)  the licence has been issued in an official language of the Republic; or
ii.                        a certificate of authenticity or validity relating to the licence issued in an official language of the Republic by a competent authority, or a translation of that licence in such official language, is attached to it; and
  1. such licence contains or has attached to it, a photograph and the signature of the licence holder.
(2) Subject to subregulation (3), an international driving permit referred to in section 23(1)(b) of the Act shall be deemed to be a valid licence for the purposes of Chapter IV of the Act for the period for, and, subject to the conditions under which it was issued.
(3) When the holder of a licence referred to in section 23(1)(a) of the Act or the holder of an international driving permit referred to in section 23(1)(b) of the Act–
  1. returns to the Republic to resume permanent residence, such licence or permit shall no longer be deemed to be a valid licence for the purposes of Chapter IV of the Act, after one year from the date of return; or
  2. obtains permission in terms of any law for permanent residence in the Republic, such licence or permit shall no longer be deemed to be a valid licence for the purposes of Chapter IV of the Act, after one year from the date on which such person has taken up permanent residence.
(4) Notwithstanding this regulation, a driving licence shall be deemed to be a valid licence for the purposes of Chapter IV of the Act, if such licence was issued in a territory previously known as–
  1. The Republic of Bophuthatswana;
  2. The Republic of Ciskei;
  3. Gazankulu;
  4. KaNgwane;
  5. KwaNdebele;
  6. Kwazulu;
  7. Lebowa;
  8. QwaQwa;
  9. The Republic of Transkei; or
  10. The Republic of Venda.
(5) A licence referred to in section 23(1)(a) or an international driving permit referred to in section 23(1)(b) of the Act may, at any time during the period of validity thereof, be exchanged for a driving licence in terms of subregulations (6) and (7).
(6) (a) An application referred to in section 23(3) of the Act shall, subject to subregulations (7) and (8), be made in the manner contemplated in regulation 111, and an application for the exchange of an international driving permit for a driving licence shall, in addition to the requirements of regulation 111(1), be accompanied by the driving licence on the authority of which the permit was issued.
  1. In the case of an application referred to in paragraph (a) for the exchange of a driving licence referred to in subregulation (4), which driving licence is no longer in the possession of the applicant, such application shall be made in the manner contemplated in regulation 112(2) and issued in the manner contemplated in regulation 112(3).
(7) (a) Subject to paragraph (b), the driving licence testing centre concerned shall upon receipt of an application referred to in subregulation (6)(a), issue or authorise the issue of a driving licence for the class or classes of motor vehicles to which the existing licence relates.
  1. The driving licence testing centre concerned shall authorise the issue and issue the licence referred to in paragraph (a) in the manner referred to in regulation 108 if it is satisfied that–
  1. the applicant is the holder of the licence or permit, as the case may be, referred to in subregulation (1) and (2); and
  2. the licence or permit is still valid.
(8) If there is a dispute as to the class of motor vehicle in respect of which a driving licence has been issued in terms of subregulation (7)(a), the MEC concerned shall determine the class of the motor vehicle.

Other car-related posts:

Buying a Car in South Africa
Tips on Selling a Car in South Africa
Expat Tip: Always Keep Tire Lock Nut in your Car
Will I need a South African Driver’s License (or What to Do When the Cops Stop me)
Six Things to Know about Renewing your Vehicle License Disk