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Buying a car in South Africa

Securing work in South Africa is one thing. Relocating and getting to know country-specific particulars is another. We are aware that when taking on a job in South Africa as a foreign national, all sorts of relocation-related questions come up, such as how to buy a car in South Africa.

Having a car or some sort of personal transport in South Africa is necessary, but buying an affordable and reliable car must be done with caution.

Where to buy a car in South Africa

There are many channels one can go through to buy a suitable car.

The safest way to buy a motor vehicle is through a reputable Brand name dealership, such as Toyota and Ford, or through online car dealerships, for example Auto Trader South Africa and Imperial Select or Wheels24.com.

The Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) also provides great ideas for what is a good buy on the market currently. The weekly newspaper Cape Ads, as well as the small ads website Gumtree are other great private ways to find used vehicles, but buying a vehicle via these channels must be done with great caution. The best way to ensure that the vehicle is worth buying is to have it tested by the AA before purchasing. The AA provides services to its members such as roadside assistance, technical and motor-related legal advice. The AA Autocheck offers a service of ensuring that the vehicle has not been stolen.

They will also have a look at the service history of the car. One should avoid buying a car without a service history report in South Africa.

Drive Africa, Tempest, First Car and Avis all offer a cost effective long term vehicle rental.

Car Licensing and Registration in South Africa

Once you have purchased a vehicle in South Africa, you have 21 days in which to license it and register it in your name. The licence disc is to be displayed on the front windshield and needs to be renewed once a year. This can all be done in one day at the nearest traffic department.

A Roadworthy Certificate is required to register a used vehicle in South Africa. To get a Roadworthy Certificate the following documents are necessary:

  • The vehicle's registration certificate
  • ID (such as a passport or identity card)
  • Completed Application for Roadworthiness Certificate form (ACR)
  • Fee amount is dependent on the province

To license and register a car, the following documents are necessary in South Africa:

  • Certified copy of your Passport and Identification Document
  • Roadworthy Certificate
  • Manufacturer’s certificates
  • Proof of address
  • Application for Licensing a Motor Vehicle form (ALV)
  • Application and Notice in respect of Traffic Register Number (ANR) form
  • Two black and white ID photographs

The cost of the registration is R69.00, if the registration takes place within 21 days. The licence fee is dependent on the type of motor vehicle. It can take about 6 weeks to process the application.

The motor vehicle must also be signed over from the previous owner, so take along with you the following documents:

  • Completed Notice of Change of Particulars form (NCP), which is available at traffic offices.
  • Proof of the new residential address

Please note: If you buy from a reputable dealership all the paperwork is usually done for you.

Car Insurance in South Africa

Car insurance is not compulsory in South Africa, but it is advised. There are a number of insurance companies to choose from, such as Outsurance, Dial Direct, Hippo Car Insurance South Africa and First for Women (if you are female). You will have an option of covers to choose from.

Comprehensive Cover Car Insurance ensures cover against risks such as fire, theft, hijacking, accident damage, hail damage and liabilities to third parties. Third Party, Fire & Theft Car Insurance provides cover against risks such as fire, theft and liabilities to third parties, but excludes cover for damage to your own vehicle. Third Party Only Car Insurance only provides cover against liabilities to third parties.

If you have any questions regarding buying a car or relocation to South Africa, please feel free to contact us.