Understanding Driving Licenses In South Africa

A rite of passage for any teenager or young adult is getting their driving license. This innocuous yet powerful little document authorises you to drive a particular type of vehicle and serves as a personal ID.

In South Africa, licences are coded to indicate the kind of vehicle you are authorised to drive. These are based on the European Unified Driving License system. 

Gumtree explains the various codes:

  1. Code A: Motorcycles
  • A1: For motorcycles with an engine capacity of 125 cubic centimetres or less
  • A2: For motorcycles with an engine capacity higher than 125 cubic centimetres (including A1 motorcycles too)
  1. Code B: Light Motor Vehicles
  • B(a): For vehicles that have a tare weight of 3500 kilograms or less (can include a trailer with GVM of 750 kilograms). These include sedans, vans or hatch or minibuses and goods vehicles with GVM less than 3500 kilograms.
  • B(b): Special or service vehicles with a tare weight of 3500 kilograms or less (such as ambulances and garbage trucks)
  • B (5): This endorsement authorises the operation of tractors
  • B (7): This endorsement authorises the operation of mobile machinery such as earth moving machines and forklifts
  1. Code C: Heavy Motor Vehicles
  • C1: Vehicles between a tare weight of 3500 and 16000 kilograms (can include a trailer of up to 750 kilogram)
  • C: Vehicles with a GVM higher than 16000 kilograms such as buses and goods trucks
  1. Boats

In South Africa, owning and driving a boat requires a license too. Given below are the categories:

  1. If the boat engine is smaller or equal to 15hp, there is no need for a skipper’s license
  2. Category R: For boats functioning in inland waters, ports, and lagoons
  3. Category E: For boats that travel 1Nm offshore
  4. Category C: For boats that travel 15Nm offshore
  5. Category B: For boats and vessels that travel up to 40Nm offshore

Now that you’ve got the knowledge, it’s time to shop! Head to gumtree.co.za or your Gumtree app (click for Apple & Android) and don’t forget to use your location settings to find license information close to home.

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