High Court Ruling On Personalised Number Plates
Mafikeng - Earlier in 2017, Wheels24 reported on proposed new licence plates and associated laws as part of the Department of Transport’s strategy to standardise number plates.
The Department of Transport said: "The security features of the number plates are part of the broad road safety strategy, which will ensure that we have the right vehicles on our roads, which to a larger extent contribute to the fatalities and carnage on our roads."
In November, the High Court has ruled against the North West Department for Community Safety and Transport’s tender process for its proposed number plates.
'Irregular, unfair and offensive'
The South African Number Plate Association (SANA) reports: "The High Court of North West has ruled in favour of the number plate industry and declared the North West Department for Community Safety and Transport’s tender process for the introduction and distribution of a securitized number plate system, be set aside.
"After years of litigation, High Court Judge N. Gutta found that the process followed was in the circumstances irregular, unfair and offensive to the constitutional rights of not only the suppliers of blank number plates, but to the number plate industry at large."
The ruling states: "The judge further stated that the North West Department for Community Safety and Transport did not have the right to simply introduce a third party into a private sector. Retrone Road & Traffic Solutions (Pty) Ltd, the appointed distributer, has made no significant investment in the industry and comparatively has little experience in the number plate industry, yet it was given the power to control the number plate industry in the North West Province for the introduction, securitisation and distribution of the proposed new number plate.
"The court also found that from evidence on record, a picture emerged of pre-knowledge of the tender by representatives of Retrone, which lend support to the finding of an ulterior purpose.
"The ruling was welcomed and industry, who is supportive of a national securitised number plate system, trusts that future negotiations would be an open consultation process that would include all relevant role players and the public consumer."
Howard Dembovsky, National Chairman of the Justice Project South Africa, says: "This ruling is great news, not only for the number plate industry but for North West motorists at large. The North West Provincial Department of Community Safety and Transport has been on a curious mission of changing the number plates required for vehicles registered in the province for some time now and has left no doubt in anyone’s minds that it was engaging in practices of exclusively reserving business for buddies through gross abuses of the legislative processes. This has now been confirmed by the High Court, and not a minute too soon.
"While JPSA also supports the concept of a 'national securitised number plate system', as has been repeatedly mooted, it is hard not to be concerned that similar attempts to legislate buddies into business as have been displayed by a province with the second lowest (5.06% as at 30 September 2017) registered vehicle population in the country may arise from that idea."
Arrive Alive's Johan Jonck adds: "Even though this is not directly a 'Road Safety Matter' we welcome the approach by the court to consider all the facts and to decide in favour of fair competition and due process, ensuring that the motorists would not have to incur further unnecessary and unjustifiable expenses."
Existing vehicle number plates in Dubai will be replaced by new plates bearing a change in design from February next year, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) announced on Saturday.
Featuring the Dubai brand in colour or black and white, the new plates will have simpler design, making it easy to read even from a distance.
“The new design of vehicle number plates is clear and easy to read from a distance. It is composed of three elements: the word Dubai (Brand), Number and Code,” said Mattar Al Tayer, director-general and chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of RTA.
He added that the authority would start replacing the existing plates of light vehicles by the newly designed plates from February 2018.
“The replacement will be gradual and in lots according to a time chart to be announced soon. Clients interested in the (Regular) Plate bearing Dubai Brand in black colour would have their vehicle plates replaced at a cost of Dh35 for short plates and Dh50 for long plates. Others opting for the coloured Dubai Brand plate need to pay a fee of Dh400,” said Al Tayer.
The RTA also unveiled new two-code plates which will be on offer in an auction on December 9.
The package of plates on offer includes 10 distinctive single-, dual-, triple-, quadruple- and five-digit plates of Code AA namely: 7, 10, 12, 100, 333, 786, 1000, 8888, 77777 and 55555.
Al Tayer said that the dual code plates will be released only through Open Auctions.
“This new initiative underlines RTA’s keenness to satisfy the needs of customers aspiring to own distinctive number plates, especially as the stock of single-code distinctive plates is about to be exhausted,” said Al Tayer.
“Once you’ve bagged that number plate – if it’s a good one it adds value to it. Some are iconic and will be sought after. Some of the best are simple but exquisite.”
The biggest went for £180,000 in May last year – for KR15 HNA – which was a new British record for the most expensive current style personalised registration plate.
Today, plates with just one number and two letters cost an estimated £60,000, 20 times more than the early 1990s, when drivers could expect to pay somewhere between £3,000 to £5,000.
A DVLA spokesman said: “Many people enjoy displaying a personalised registration number and the general sale and auctions remain extremely popular with the public.
“Since we began selling personalised registrations we have raised around £2.3 billion and all the money raised is passed to the Treasury.”
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