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.

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

  1. Good day.
    So I have a EC license driving a VW lt 46 with no seats or windows only in front. Bought it because it was cheap with no problems. So now I have a 2500 Rand fine because I don’t have a PDP.
    After the traffic department told me I don’t need one. So do I need a PDP?

    • Hi Johan, this depends on several things.
      Firstly, what PrDP did the traffic officer say you require, Passenger or Goods? Why did he say you require a PrDP? Did he say because the vehicle was licenced to carry multiple passengers, or was he saying this because it is a commercial vehicle?
      Why were you driving the vehicle? Is it for work purposes, are you just driving it for personal use etc.

  2. Hi
    I applied for pdp and now its been two weeks waiting for confirmation of my finger prints,I would like to know if its not too late to go and ask for temporary PDP?


    • If you are 20 years old, you canly only get a goods PrDP. You can apply for this even if you only have a temporary licence. You cannot apply for a people carrying PrDP until you are 21, or dangerous goods when you are 25.

    • Yes, they are trasnsporting people as part of their job, thus they are being paid to transport people.

  3. I have a drunken driving record because I was stupid and on holiday. Paid admission of guilt in Dec 2016. I need a PdP for my job at a lodge. What can I do? Please help!

  4. hi .. i had a drunk driving case in 2012 and we were given our bails back .. and my police clearance says Awaiting trial.. so its been 6 years.now. Are they going to allow me to apply for PRDP? WITH this Awaiting trial in my Police clearance?

    • Hi Sandile, I’m not sure. Does the status provide a date since when you’ve been awaiting trial? You say you were given your bail back, does that mean the court case was dismissed?

      • yes the case number has the year in it ..which is 2012.. so ive been on waiting trial since 2012.. even my police clearance states that im in waiting trial. so now im not sure whether are they going to allow me to get prdp.. but for the past years i had no problem

        • Hi Sandile, they should allow you to get a PrDP, because you have not been convicted of a crime. I don’t know this for sure though.

  5. Hi, I have 2 questions and would appreciate your help

    1. There is a bakkie where a company converted the back of their bakkie to carry passengers (they basically added wooden benches for seats). no seat belts, it does have a canopy.
    Is this legal? Does the driver need a prdp?

    Secondly: Driving staff around the premises in a quantum, even if it’s just one person, would the driver need a prdp?

    • Hi Hasseena,
      Sorry, I can’t speak to the legality of the conversion.

      Regardless of the conversion though, the driver will need a PrDP as they are transporting people for reward, regardless of the number of people.

      For both the first and second point, remember that a PrDP is a legal requirement for driving on South African public roads. No driver’s licence whatsoever is required to drive any vehicle on private property. This is purely from a South African road rules perspective. If something went wrong on your property while an unlicenced person was driving, you might be open to legal action from the victim for negligence. Additionally depending on the type of work taking place, eg. construction, additional licencing may be required.

  6. Can a Malawian having a Valid Malawian license able to do PrDP in South Africa,if yes ,I would like to know requirements

    • If you have the Malawian equivalent of a PrDP you should be able to drive in SA.
      If you hav a standard Malawain licence, you will either need to upgrade it to a Malawian PrDP, or you will have to obtain a South African driver’s licence and PrDP.

  7. Hi,
    I will be driving a bakkie that is under 3500Kg but have LPG gas bottles on it (cage and all needed Fitted) Would I need a PRDP?

  8. Hi! I want to ask if i have a small bakkie i should have Prdp to carry my friends about 5 or six of them if we going somewhere?

    • If it’s just you and your friends you do not a PrDP. If you are transporting people and being paid to do it, you do require a PrDP. There is also additional legislation around transporting people in a bakkie for reward.

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