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.

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

  1. hello,if you have a ec1 licence,can you drive a truck with gvm 16 ton maximum and a trailer with gvm maximum 16 tons?please help.

    • An EC1 should permit you to drive a set of vehicles whose Gross Combined Vehicle Mass is less than 16 tons. So a 5 ton truck, with 11 ton trailer.

      • yes thank you,so the gcm may not exceed 16 tons?so you cannot tow a trailer which has a gvm of 16 tons?there are a lot of people who are confused with the weight limits,in terms of gcm and gvm.thank you for your response.

        • Hi John, yes, it does depend on the type of vehicle. But for normal articulated vehicles it’s GCM. You can see the details here:

          EC1:
          A motor vehicle, excluding a motor cycle, motor tricycle, motor quadrucycle, tractor and a motor vehicle which is a type of mobile agricultural or industrial equipment or machinery not designed principally for the conveyance of persons or goods, being—
          (i) an articulated motor vehicle, of which the gross combination mass of the truck-tractor exceeds 3 500 kilograms but does not exceed 16 000 kilograms;
          (ii) a combination of—
          (aa) a motor vehicle the tare of which exceeds 3 500 kg but does not exceed 16 000 kg; or
          (bb) a minibus, bus or goods vehicle, the gross vehicle mass of which exceeds 3 500 kilograms but does not exceed 16 000 kilograms,
          with a trailer the gross vehicle mass of which exceeds 750 kilograms.

  2. I had a B license since 1999. I recently I got my EC. The new license card inly reflects the ec and not the b. And there is only the date of issue for this EC. I was under he impression they showed both on the card with both initiated dates. Now does that mean I need to renew them seperately?

    • Your B licence is superseded by your EC licence. That is anything you could drive with a B, you can drive with your EC. So they don’t show the B on your licence.

      It is possible to request documentation from the traffic department indicating that you have previously had a B licence and when you got it if you need it for some official purpose.

  3. Hi. If you have a code EB license, can you tow a trailer of 2000kg GVM with a ford ranger with 3200kg GVM or are you only limited to 3500kg GCM?

    • The RTA seems to imply that if it is an articulated vehicle, then it is limited to a GCM of 3.5 tons. However if it is not an articulated vehicle, which one can assume a ford ranger is not, then you can have a vehicle with a tare less than 3.5 tons, and a trailer that is over 750kg.

      Link to RTA

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