News24 | Here’s how Gauteng residents can flag concerns about new number plates

A public participation process will be held before the new number plate system in the province is rolled out. Gauteng citizens will be able to air grievances with the system.

A public participation process will be held before the new number plate system in the province is rolled out. Gauteng citizens will be able to air grievances with the system.

Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

  • There will be a public participation process before the new number plate system is rolled out in Gauteng.
  • Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi has walked back comments he made about launching the new system in April.
  • A trial is set to get under way to test out the technology out.
  • For more financial news, go to the News24 Business front page.

Gauteng residents will be able to flag concerns about the proposed mandatory rollout of new high-tech number plates in the province through a public consultation processes before any rollout goes ahead.

This is according to Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport spokesperson Lesiba Mpya Lesiba, who told News24 that there is still a long road ahead if the number plates are to be introduced.

Speaking at an event earlier in February, Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi said that residents were going to be forced to apply for new high-tech number plates starting from April this year.

“From 1 April in Gauteng, we are revamping the car registration numbers of all the cars. We are starting afresh, all of us. Every person that has a car must re-register and get a new registration number that can’t be copied, can’t be removed and is reliable,” said Lesufi.

READ | Gauteng motorists must soon apply for new high-tech number plates

He explained that the new number plates would be tamper-proof, enable authorities to detect if someone crossed the border, and have a QR code that can be scanned by law enforcement officials to identify the true owner of a vehicle.

Speaking at the Gauteng State of the Province Address a week later on 19 February, Lesufi walked back his comments about the date for the rollout, clarifying that the number plates would be rolled out on selected government vehicles on 1 April as part of a trial. 

He said the National Department of Transport had developed draft legislation for the “harmonisation of national plates” which includes the technology that is being tested on the Gauteng plates.

Mpya said that the technology on the number plates would be “put through its paces” during the trial run.

“It will start with a few hundred vehicles and expand to a few thousand over the next year,” he said.

He explained that robust public participation processes would be conducted before the features of the new plates are signed into law.

“We will participate with citizens through the legislative processes,” he said.

“In engaging other stakeholders, we are expecting robust engagement around this process. There will be questions that are raised about this issue.”

If the trial is successful and the rollout does go ahead, Mpya said that citizens would have to comply with the rule of law and change their number plates.

He also gave details of how the system is set to work.

According to Mpya, citizens will have to apply for a new number plate when they apply to renew their license disk. It will be possible for someone to apply before this date, but they will be forced to initiate the process when applying for a license disk.

He also said that any vehicle that remains in the province for longer than 30 days will be forced to change over to the new license plate system.

It is not clear how or where number plates will be affixed to a vehicle, but given the fact that the plates are supposed to be tamper-proof, it can safely be assumed that the owner will not be able to attach the disk themselves.

Third-party license disk application platforms contacted by News24 are confident that their operations would not be affected significantly by the number plate change.

A spokesperson for the Spar group, Mpudi Maubane, said he didn’t foresee the license disk application process at stores being affected by the changes.

“Currently, our stores have not encountered any challenges with the system, and they do not foresee any issues in the future.”

“Participating stores were notified of the pending legislative changes in 2023, and when the changes are implemented, the system will automatically issue a new Gauteng plate number, providing a seamless and hassle-free experience for customers,” he said. 

Spar will not be able to issue a physical number plate to customers.

Andre Botes, the co-founder of Disky, a WhatsApp-based license disk renewal platform, said the company is preparing to assist if the new number plate system comes into effect.

“We are preparing ourselves to facilitate that process once that becomes law and is implemented.

“Whether that process has to happen in person at a license office or whether it can be done through a WhatsApp service like Disky that we don’t know,” he said.