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A Quick Guide to Driving Licence Codes in South Africa

In South Africa, driving licences are issued with various codes that indicate the types of vehicle that may be driven with that licence. To transport fare-paying passengers or tourists for a fee, you must have a professional driving permit (PrDP).

The classification, standardised throughout southern Africa, consists of the following groups of licences, based on the European Unified Driving Licence system:

A = MOTOR CYCLES
B = LIGHT MOTOR VEHICLES (UP TO 3 500 KG GVM)
C = HEAVY MOTOR VEHICLES
D = COMBINATIONS, INCLUDING ARTICULATED VEHICLES.

Note: Licence holders of Heavy motor vehicles automatically include permission to operate light motor vehicles. For example, a Code EC1 licence includes codes B, EB and C1.

The system makes a further distinction between rigid vehicles and rigid vehicles drawing trailers and articulated vehicles. An articulated vehicle is a vehicle which has a permanent or semi-permanent pivot joint in its construction, allowing the vehicle to turn more sharply but requiring more skill to manoeuvre. A rigid vehicle pulling a trailer only is occasionally not considered to be an articulated vehicle.

South African Driving licence codes explained:
–> Download SA driving licence codes quick reference diagram. Courtesy of DriveIt.co.za.

Code A – Motorcycles

A1: Motorcycles with an engine capacity of 125 cubic centimetres or less.

SA Driving Licence Code A1 – Motorcycles <125cc
Any motorcycle up to an engine capacity under 125cc or electrically operated. Scooters, Mopeds with or without a sidecar falls into this category.

A: Motorcycles with an engine capacity greater than 125 cubic centimetres including Code A1 motorcycles.

SA Driving Licence Code A – Motorcycles >125cc
Any motorcycle up to an engine capacity greater than 125cc. High-speed bikes, Touring bikes, Choppers & Cruisers with or without a sidecar fall into this category.

Code B – Light Motor Vehicles

B(a): Vehicles with a tare weight of 3 500 kilograms or less. A trailer with GVM of 750 kg or less may be attached. Also includes vehicles from codes A1 and A.

SA Driving Licence Code B(a) - Light Motor Vehicles
Vehicles (except motorcycles) with a tare weight of 3 500 kilograms or less; and minibuses, buses and goods vehicles with gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 3 500 kg or less. A trailer with GVM of 750 kg or less may be attached.

B(b): Special & service vehicles such as Ambulances with a tare weight of 3 500 kilograms or less. A trailer with GVM of 750 kg or less may be attached. Also includes vehicles from codes A1, A.

SA Driving Licence Code B(b) - Light Motor Vehicles
Special Vehicles including Ambulances, Garbage trucks etc. with tare weight of 3 500 kilograms or less. A trailer with GVM of 750 kg or less may be attached.

B(5): B ‘5’ endorsement only authorises the operation of tractors.

SA Driving Licence Code B(5) - Light Motor Vehicles
No mass limit applies when operating a tractor with or without pulling a trailer.

B(7): B ‘7’ endorsement only authorises the operation of mobile machinery.

SA Driving Licence Code B(7) - Light Motor Vehicles
No mass limit applies when operating mobile machinery such as forklifts, earth moving machines, etc.

Code C – Heavy Motor Vehicles

C1: Vehicles with tare weight between 3 500 kg and 16 000 kg with or without a trailer of up to 750 kg. Also includes vehicles from codes A1, A and B.

SA Driving Licence Code C1 - Heavy Motor Vehicles
Vehicles with a tare weight between 3 500 kg and 16 000 kg; minibuses, buses and goods vehicles with GVM between 3 500 kg and 16 000 kg. A trailer with GVM of 750 kg or less may be attached. A special C1 ‘4’ endorsement authorises the driving of buses over 16000kg.

C: Buses and goods vehicles with a GVM greater than 16 000 kg with or without a trailer of up to 750 kg. Also includes vehicles from codes A1, A, B & C1.

SA Driving Licence Code C - Heavy Motor Vehicles
Buses and goods vehicles with a GVM greater than 16 000 kg. A trailer with a GVM of 750 kg or less may be attached.

Code D – Combinations & Articulated Vehicles

EB: Light articulated vehicles of 3 500 kg or less and vehicles allowed by Code B but with a trailer with GVM greater than 750 kg. Also includes vehicles from codes A1, A, B.

SA Driving Licence Code EB - Light Articulated Vehicles
Articulated vehicles with a gross combination mass (GCM) of 3 500 kg or less; and vehicles allowed by Code B but with a trailer with GVM greater than 750 kg.

EC1(a): Articulated vehicles with A GCM of between 3 500 kg and 16 000 kg. Also includes vehicles from codes A1, A, B, C1 & EB.

SA Driving Licence Code EC1(A) - Articulated Vehicles 3500-16000 kg
Articulated vehicles with a GCM between 3 500 kg and 16 000 kg.

EC1(b): Rigid vehicles with a GCM of between 3 500 kg and 16 000 kg including vehicles allowed by Code C1 but with a trailer with GVM greater than 750 kg. Also includes vehicles from codes A1, A, B, C1 & EB.

SA Driving Licence Code EC1(b) - Rigid Vehicles 3500-16000 kg with a trailer
Rigid vehicles with GCM between 3 500 kg and 16 000 kg including vehicles allowed by Code C1 but with a trailer with GVM greater than 750 kg.

EC(a): Articulated vehicles with a GCM of greater than 16 000 kg. Also includes vehicles from codes A1, A, B, EB, C1, C & EC1.

SA Driving Licence Code EC(a) - Articulated Vehicles greater than 16000 kg
Articulated vehicles with GCM greater than 16 000 kg.

EC(b): Rigid vehicles with a GCM greater than 16 000 kg; and vehicles allowed by Code C but with a trailer with GVM greater than 750 kg. Also includes vehicles from codes A1, A, B, EB, C1, C & EC1.

SA Driving Licence Code EC(b) - Rigid Vehicles greater than 16000 kg with trailer
Rigid vehicles with a GCM greater than 16 000 kg; and vehicles allowed by Code C but with a trailer with GVM greater than 750 kg.

This guide along with all diagram images has been published with appreciation and acknowledgement to DriveIt.co.za

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