Categories: LifestyleNews
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2023-11-27 3:41 PM

KwaZulu-Natal’s Revolutionary New Vehicle Plates

  • Transition to Unified Numbering: KwaZulu-Natal is shifting from location-specific vehicle license plates to a unified system bearing the identifier "ZN," eliminating town and demarcation indicators.
  • Phased Implementation: The transition involves two phases: initial registration of new vehicles, re-registration of vehicles to new owners, and government vehicle registration from December 2023 to February 2024; followed by a migration phase for all vehicle owners to switch to the new system from March 2024 onwards.
  • Reasons and Preparation: Depletion of town-specific numbers prompted this change, necessitating consultations with stakeholders. Enhanced security features aim to combat vehicle-related crimes. Ongoing support and workshops for stakeholders precede the implementation for a smoother transition.
By Miriam Matoma


The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport is gearing up for the imminent launch of an updated vehicle license numbering system, set to commence on December 1, 2023. This initiative aims to revolutionize the identification of vehicles across the province. Unlike the existing plates, which bear location-specific codes like ND for Durban, PMB for Pietermaritzburg, and NPN for Pinetown, the new system will transition to a unified approach, displaying the identifier “ZN” without town or demarcation indicators.

Key Information for South African Motorists

The implementation of the new numbering system will occur in two essential phases. The initial phase, scheduled from December 1, 2023, to February 28, 2024, will focus on registering new motor vehicles, re-registering vehicles under new ownership, re-licensing recovered stolen vehicles, and government vehicle registration.

Following this, the second phase will begin on March 1, 2024, encompassing the migration of all vehicle owners from the current system to the new structure. Throughout the 24-month transition period, motorists will have 21 voluntary months, starting March 1, 2024, to adopt the new system before it becomes mandatory.

Reasons for the Transformation

The decision to revamp the license numbering system stems from the depletion of numbers in several towns within the province. This change has undergone meticulous planning, involving consultations with key stakeholders, including the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), and manufacturers of blank number plates.

Additionally, the incorporation of enhanced security features in the new plates aims to bolster efforts against criminal activities related to vehicle identification and tracking.

“The activation of the new numbering system is now feasible through the Electronic National Administration Traffic Information System (ENaTIS), supported by RTMC, after rigorous testing,” confirmed the Department of Transport.

Upcoming Developments and Support Mechanisms

The final gazette, expected to be published on November 30, 2023, will encapsulate inputs and feedback from diverse stakeholders and the public, a culmination of efforts since the issuance of the initial gazette earlier in November 2023.

As part of preparatory measures, Provincial Motor Licensing Bureaus (MLBs) and Road Traffic Information (RTI) will participate in workshops from November 28, 2023. These workshops aim to familiarize stakeholders with the new system’s alterations and requirements.

To ensure a seamless transition, registering authorities across the province will receive ongoing support, mitigating potential challenges during the implementation phase.

The Road Ahead for Motorists

South African motorists in KwaZulu-Natal should be prepared for this transformative shift in vehicle license numbering. Familiarizing oneself with the new system’s requirements, participating in the voluntary migration, and understanding the timeline for the mandatory adoption of the new plates are crucial steps for a hassle-free transition.

The new numbering system not only addresses the exhaustion of codes in various towns but also ushers in enhanced security features, potentially aiding law enforcement agencies in combating vehicle-related crimes.

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Miriam Matoma

Miriam is a freelance writer, she covers economics and government news for Rateweb. You can contact her on: Email: miriam@rateweb.co.za Twitter: @MatomaMiriam