The correct process to get a licence

7 August 2013:

The motoristís guide to legal questions on the road

Obtaining a driverís licence can be a rather daunting exercise: you wait in long queues for bookings, and spend money on learnerís and driverís tests - which you may not even pass. However, if you follow the correct process and know all the requirements you can make your life a lot easier, according to the Automobile Association of South Africa (AA).

There are three licences that you need before you can hit the road: your learnerís licence, your driverís licence, and, finally, a vehicle licence. The first two will require tests, and once you have passed these tests you will be able to register your vehicle.

Learnerís Licence
In order to be issued with a learnerís licence, you will need to meet the following requirements:
  • Be 17 years or older
  • Complete the application form at your local testing centre
  • Supply two identical black and white or colour photographs, your South African ID and pay the required fee when you arrive to make your application
  • Pass an eye test at the testing centre
  • Pass the learner's test, which examines your knowledge of the rules of the road, the traffic signs, and the controls of a vehicle. Study materials to help you prepare for the learner's licence test are available at various retail outlets. 
A word of advice from the AA: Remember that a learner's licence is valid for 24 months only, so make sure to get your driverís licence in time. 

Driverís Licence
Once you have passed your learnerís test, you can immediately book your test to obtain a full driverís licence. The driverís test is marked on a points system. If you are successful, you are issued with a temporary driving licence, which is replaced by a permanent driving licence within six months.

A word of advice from the AA: Choosing the correct driving instructor to assist you in preparing for the test is vital. Do your homework and get references before selecting an instructor. It is important to note that all driving schools and instructors must be registered and approved and must hold a driving instructor's or driving school certificate.

Vehicle Licence
It is compulsory for all vehicles to be licensed in order to operate on public roads in South Africa. To get a vehicle licence, you must complete an application form, pay the licence fee and present your ID at a registered authority. 

Important information about a vehicle licence:
  • You must register and license your motor vehicle within 21 days after a change of ownership. If you do not register it, you will have to pay arrears and penalties. 
  • The vehicle must pass a roadworthy test Ė a roadworthy certificate (COR) will be issued which is currently valid for six months.  
A word of advice from the AA: It is best to do the roadworthy inspection first and submit the change of ownership documentation together with the COR when registering and licensing the vehicle in your name.  
The 21-day period however remains in force.
  • Your licence disc must be displayed on the front windshield of the vehicle at all times.
  • You need to renew your vehicle licence every year before it expires. You get a 21-day grace period to renew the expired licence. 
  • You must renew your vehicle licence at the relevant registering authority in the area in which you live or at a selected post office near you.
  • If you fail to renew your vehicle licence, penalties will accrue. 

Automobile Association of South Africa (AA)
011 799 1180

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