When do you require a PDP / PrDP licence?

I was recently in a discussion with friends over when one actually needs a PDP licence? One of them is a missionary who often transports people around in one of the church’s Quantums. Investigating the situation it all comes down to how you want to define certain things. The following is the simplest breakdown to determine if you need one or not:

Click for full size modified from: foresightpublications.co.za

Click for full size
modified from: foresightpublications.co.za

The biggest thing to decide is on the concept of paying customers. Certain websites state it as “a motor vehicle used for the conveyance of persons for reward” and others as “other vehicle carrying paying passengers”. These are two very different topics. In my friend’s case, the passengers aren’t paying, but she may be receiving remuneration for her work at the church and such as is required to drive the mini-bus as part of her duties, thus she would fall in this category.

If we look at the regulation itself:

National Road Traffic Act, 1996 – National Road Traffic Regulations, 1999 – Chapter V: Fitenss of Drivers – Part IV: Professional Driving Permit – 115: Certain drivers of certain vehicles to hold professional driving permit

1) Subject to the provisions of subregulation (2), a professional driving permit shall be held by the driver of –

… e) a motor vehicle used for the conveyance of persons for  reward …

Thus if she is being remunerated for her work she would probably require one. It also explains why on sports tours at university we didn’t require one, as we were not being paid for driving.

Other things to note:

  • The currently used Professional Driving Permit (PrDP) is the continuation of the old Public Driving Permit (PDP) which was used pre 1998 and excluded certain provisions which are now included under the PrDP.
  • Price will vary with time.
  • A D (dangerous goods) licence includes a G (goods) licence.
  • One can hold both a P (people) and G, or P and D PrDP licence at the same time.
  • The minimum age for a PrDP licence is 18 for a G licence, 21 for a P licence, and 25 for a D licence.
  • If it’s a goods vehicle under 3.5 tons, it does not require a PrDP.
  • If it’s a vehicle of any size used to carry passengers for reward, or has 12 or more seats, a PrDP is required.
  • Almost all vehicles over 3.5 tons will require a PrDP, either for carrying passengers or as a goods vehicle. This is irrelevant of whether you are transporting goods or passengers at the time or not.
  • A vehicle over 3.5 tons, but is not a goods vehicle, does not require a PrDP. I’ve seen several people make mention of the Ford F250 and how traffic officer’s have demanded a PrDP. According to the law it is not required unless it can be defined as a goods vehicle. It does however require a C1 (old code 10) or higher licence.

This opens another discussion on the definition of goods vehicle. The RTA defines goods as

any movable property

and a goods vehicle as

a motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle, motor tricycle, motor quadrucycle, motorcar, minibus or bus, designed or adapted for the conveyance of goods on a public road and includes a truck-tractor, adaptor dolly, converter dolly and breakdown vehicle

Which is very vague, so people who get fines for their F250 should probably just right a nice letter trying to explain how their vehicle is a private vehicle and should not fall under the definition of a goods vehicle.

To get a PrDP you must also not have been convicted of certain crimes within the space of 5 years (NRTA):

if the applicant has, within a period of five years prior to the date of the application, been convicted of or has paid an admission of guilt on –
i)    driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a drug having a narcotic effect;
ii)    driving a motor vehicle while the concentration of alcohol in his or her blood exceeded a statutory limitation;
iii)    reckless driving; or
iv)    in the case of an application for a category “P” and “D” permit, an offence of which violence was an element;

With regards to foreign/international/overseas driver’s licences, the exact law is unclear and interpreted differently. My interpretation of the NRTA (specific section) matches Fleetwatch here. If you wish to drive a vehicle that requires a PrDP, you either need a South African licence with a PrDP, or you need a licence from a prescribed country with their equivalent of the PrDP (for example Zimbabwe’s Defensive Driving Licence). If you have a licence from any other country you are not permitted to drive such a vehicle.

This is however countered by the AA in this response of their’s in which they essentially state that if you are allowed to drive a PrDP vehicle in your country, you can drive it in SA.

Please note, I am in no way an expert with regards to traffic laws or any related topic, I am merely laying out the information as I’ve found it, all comments below are also given with a view from the facts I know, always enquire at your local traffic department when uncertain.

755 thoughts on “When do you require a PDP / PrDP licence?

  1. Morning

    My PDP expired on 30/03/2015.
    I went to renew it before the expired date and received a receipt for the renewal.
    My work don’t want to accept the receipt and said that I was supposed to take out a temporary PDP. I did received my new PDP now.
    Please let me know it the receipt is acceptable if you renew it before the expiry date.

    • Hi Nico, I’m not sure, but I believe you do need to request the temporary regardless of when you apply. You need to have some document showing you have a valid PrDP, and I don’t think a receipt is sufficient.

        • You may be able to request a temporary licence when your police clearance is confirmed, but it’s best to check with your local traffic department directly, as application procedure differs amongst provinces.

  2. We specialise in annual prescribed training of drivers who drive dangerous goods vehicles. All drivers of any size dangerous goods vehicle must be in possession of a PrDP Category D (under 3.5 tons GVM) or Category D, G (vehicles > 3.5 tons GVM).

  3. how much money you need to have to obtain the PDP? and how long does it take to have it and how long it take to expire?

    • Check with your local traffic department. Prices do change.
      Application takes around 6 weeks and the licence is valid for 2 years thereafter.

    • The requirements WHEN a driver needs a PrDP are simple. Apart from the obvious “taxi” (passengers fro reward), it is also dependent on the vehicle itself, irrespective whether you are carrying actual passengers or not.

      If you drive a minibus or any vehicle with 12 or more seats (including the driver seat) you need a PrDP Category P. (no passengers need to be in the vehicle).
      Even a privately owned minibus requires the PrDP if the 12 seats or more applies)

      If you drive any vehicle with Gross Vehicle Mass greater than 3500 kg (trucks, large bakkies e.g. Ford F350) you again need a PrDP Category G irrespective whether the vehicle is loaded or not.

  4. I am an 19 year old and have a drivers license I would like to know that what are my chances of getting a prdp if I want to drive a taxi

    • Hi Siyabonga, unfortunately you have to be 21 years old to get a P PrDP licence, which allows you to transport people.

  5. Hi Gereth I’m 29yrs old I was involved in a car accident in 2013 n I ws charged wt reckless driving in 2014 n at work I’m driving a nissan bakkie NP300( 1ton) nd my PDP has expired thy say I cnt renew it I have to wait 4 5yrs b4 I cn renew it ..so my question is do I reli need it? N if yes wt a police clearance can I b able to get it? Pls help me man

    • Hi Tebogo

      You cannot have been convicted or paid an admission of guilt fine for a period of 5 years prior to date of your application, for the following criminal offences:

      Reckless driving

      So you cannot get a PrDP for the next 4 years. That being said, you do not require a PrDP for a vehicle under 3.5 tons, assuming you’re not transporting people or dangerous goods.

  6. My husband has a polish drivers licence and polish passport, can he acquire a PrDP in South Africa, or what do foreigners need in order to transport people for reward in South Africa?

    • Unfortunately to get a PrDP you have to have a South African Driver’s licence. You should be able to go through some process to get his Polish licence transferred into a South African Licence, and then apply for a PrDP thereafter.

  7. Hi, I lost my Permit which will expire next year 2016 November so, can i go and apply for duplicate prdp? And will I start afresh like going to the doctor for medical certificate and police clearance?

    • Hi Sibusiso
      Go to the police department and sign an affidavit stating that you lost your licence. Then you can go to the traffic department and get them to reissue your current PrDP which will then expire next year November. Or else you can reapply for a new driver’s licence.

  8. How long does it takes for fingerprint to expired? What’s the dead line after you have received an sms confirming your fingerprint clearance in order to pay for PrDP?

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