SA Driver’s Licence codes, old vs new

It constantly frustrates me how although since 1998 (16 years ago) the official licence system has made use of a system of letters to distinguish between different licence codes, to this day, people still, on a regular basis, refer to licence codes by the old number system.

To make things easier for people who are getting confused, I’ve pulled the data from the Road Traffic Act and put it together here, first the learner’s licence, then driver’s licence info. The system has undergone several changes over the decades and the time frame that each refers to is specified at the top of each column

I’ve also added a copy of a current driver’s licence to show what the current codes refer to.

Learner’s Licence system

learner’s licence issued before 1 March 1998 New/Current Learner’s Licence What this currently entails
Code 01, 02, 03, 04 and 15 Code 1 Motorbike / trike
Code 05, 06, 07, 08 Code 2 LMV
code 10, 11, 13 and 14 Code 3 HMV or LMV

Driver’s Licence

Current [1995 – 1998] [01.06.1990 – 1995) [31.12.1985 – 01.06.1990) [01.02.1972 – 31.12.1985) [01.01.1967 – 01.02.1972) [… – 01.01.1967)
A1 Code 01 Code 01 Code 01 Code 01 Code 01 Code 01
A Code 15 Code 02
Code 15
Code 03
Code 04
Code 02
Code 03
Code 04
Code 02
Code 03
Code 04
Code 02
Code 03
Code 02
Code 03
B Code 05
Code 07
Code 05
Code 07
Code 05
Code 07
Code 05
Code 07
agricultural / industrial vehicles
EB Code 08 Code 08 Code 08 Code 08 Code 08 Code 08
EC1 Code 10 Code 10 Code 10 Code 9
EC Code 11
Code 13
Code 14
Code 11
Code 13
Code 14
Code 11
Code 13
Code 14
Code 10
Code 11
Code 10
Code 11
Code 10
SA Driver's Licence

Current SA driver’s licence codes

A code 6 licence could be given for any category licence referring to an electrically powered vehicle.
A code 12 licence could be given for any category licence referring to a vehicle that is specially adapted for use by a physically disabled person.

All info is from the Road Traffic Act, Regulations, Chapter V: Fitness of Drivers, Part ll: Learner’s and driving licences and it goes into a lot more detail than I’ve displayed here. You can click the following terms if you would like more info on the SA Driver’s licence system or the Professional Driver’s Permit.

154 thoughts on “SA Driver’s Licence codes, old vs new

  1. Am I eligible to drive a 65 seater bus with an EC1 licence
    Can I drive a rigid double diff vehicle using an EC1 licence

    • It depends on the GVM of the vehicles, not how many seats, or diffs the vehicle has.
      But most likely, if the GVM of the vehicles in question are less than 16 tons

      For example, the Tata LPO 1823 has a GVM of 17900kg, so you would not be permitted to drive it.

  2. Good day,
    I have been driving for more than 40 years with a EB license. While doing military service, I drove 65 seat buses, and Samil 50 trucks. Unfortunately, I did not apply for those licences to be added to my private license. Now I want to drive a motorhome and trailer not exceeding a GVM of 16 000 kg. (EC1) Do I need to do a course with a driving school, and also get a learner’s license before I go for drivers license?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Johan,
      Unfortunately you do need a new learner’s licence, that will be your first step. You will need to get a Code 3 HMV learner’s licence.
      After that you can do your test. You don’t need to do it through a driving school, but I’ll always advise doing at least one or two lessons with a driving school, as the tests are not as simple as just driving the vehicle around. And it’s good to know exactly what to expect with regards to the yard test.
      To get an EC1 licence, you will need to drive a vehicle of that class, with suitable trailer, to obtain the given licence. Driving schools will often have suitable vehicles if you do not.

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