Go! Drive and Camp Camp Guide - - The Paperwork -

If your driver’s li­cence harkens back to a time when it still had pride of place in your ID book, you’re al­lowed to tow a car­a­van with­out any ad­di­tional pa­per­work – your old Code 08 driver’s li­cence was con­verted to an EB driver’s li­cence.

And if you ob­tained your li­cence af­ter 1998 (when the newer card sys­tem was im­ple­mented) and you tow noth­ing big­ger than a small lug­gage trailer on the open road, or use it to get rid of gar­den refuse, you can also re­lax. The Code B driver’s li­cense is quite suf­fi­cient.

How­ever, if you cur­rently only have a Code B­driver’s li­cence and you want to tow a car­a­van or off-road trailer, ac­tu­ally, any­thing with a gross ve­hi­cle mass (GVM) ex­ceed­ing 750 kg, you should make an ap­point­ment at the traf­fic de­part­ment and get the right li­cence to tow.


Write your ‘learn­ers’. The first step to ob­tain­ing a Code EB driver’s li­cence (the one that al­lows you to tow), is to qual­ify for an EB learner’s li­cence. This test is iden­ti­cal to the one you had to pass for your Code B driver’s li­cence. You must pass the test again, even if you al­ready have a Code B driver’s li­cence.

Big red L... While tow­ing a trailer as a learner driver, you must be ac­com­pa­nied in the ve­hi­cle by a per­son who is in pos­ses­sion of a valid li­cence to tow. You should also af­fix an L sticker to the back of the trailer.

Prac­tice makes per­fect. Once you’ve qual­i­fied for your learner’s li­cence, you can make an ap­point­ment at the traf­fic of­fice. You may even go to prac­tice in their yard. There are time slots re­served for this.

Test time. A tow­ing test will typ­i­cally be com­pleted in less than an hour. The yard test lasts about 20 min­utes and the road test less than half an hour. In­vest in a set of those round blind-spot mir­rors and stick them to your ex­ten­sion mir­rors. They don’t cost much, but help a lot dur­ing the test.

Who’s in and who’s out? The GCM (gross com­bi­na­tion mass) of the tow­ing ve­hi­cle for this test may not ex­ceed 3 500 kg, while the GVM (gross ve­hi­cle mass) of the trailer must be more than 750 kg. The trailer used dur­ing the test is not re­quired to con­tain a load.

It’s who you know... Com­plete the test with a tow­ing ve­hi­cle and trailer that you are fa­mil­iar with. Don’t be fooled into think­ing that a small car tow­ing a small trailer will make the test eas­ier. Keep in mind that the closer the trailer’s wheels are to those of the car, the sharper the turn­ing an­gle of the trailer will be when you re­v­erse. Given the choice be­tween a road car­a­van and an off-road car­a­van, choose the lat­ter. They’re nar­rower, sim­pli­fy­ing things when you are in­structed to re­v­erse into a tight space. >

Slowly does it... The full yard test must be com­pleted within 20 min­utes. That is the com­bined stop­watch time of each of the six items be­ing tested. The road test is done out­side the test site and it must last longer than 20 min­utes, but less than 45 min­utes.

Belt free. You may drive the ve­hi­cle with­out your safety belt dur­ing the yard test.

Mix and match. The yard test items can be done in any se­quence, and it de­pends on the test cen­tre.

Drive ac­ci­dent-free. If you cause an ac­ci­dent dur­ing the road test or are in­volved in one that could have been avoided, you’ve blown it. If the col­li­sion was un­avoid­able and the ve­hi­cle is still road­wor­thy, you’ll be al­lowed to con­tinue the test.


Pre-trip in­spec­tion. Be­fore get­ting into a ve­hi­cle, you have to per­form an in­spec­tion to make sure your tow­ing ve­hi­cle is road­wor­thy. Should any­thing be amiss – for in­stance bald tyres or bro­ken sig­nal lights – the test of­fi­cial will re­gard your ve­hi­cle as un­road­wor­thy and will stop the test im­me­di­ately.

Apart from the in­spec­tion on your tow­ing ve­hi­cle, you will need to check your car­a­van as well. This in­volves check­ing that the jockey wheel is raised and in place, that the man­ual brake is re­leased, that the wheels and lights are in or­der and that the cor­ner stead­ies are com­pletely raised and se­cure.

Par­al­lel park­ing. For this ex­er­cise, you will be re­quired to un­hitch the car­a­van and park the tow­ing ve­hi­cle par­al­lel to the left and to the right. Once you have passed th­ese tests, you may com­mence the next as­sess­ment.


Keep in mind that although it is al­ways safer to drive cour­te­ously and care­fully, you may lose points for driv­ing too slowly for the sur­round­ing traf­fic. The test drive must in­clude the fol­low­ing sce­nar­ios:

A part of the route must con­sist of at least two lanes where you’ll be re­quired to change lanes.

You with musta four-way­pass through­stop and an at in­ter­sec­tion­least four in­ter­sec­tions that have a stop sign or a traf­fic light (you will also be re­quired to make a right turn at two of th­ese.) You will also need to pass through two yield­con­trolled in­ter­sec­tions where you and on­com­ing traf­fic re­ceive prece­dence – that is, right of way.

You may not ap­proach any cross­ing along the route more than once com­ing from the same di­rec­tion.

You must cross at least two in­ter­sec­tions with two-way traf­fic.


Heavy ve­hi­cle driver’s li­cences are cat­e­gorised as C, C1, EC and EC1. With a C and C1 driver’s li­cence, you’re not al­lowed to tow, but if you have an EC1 li­cence, you may tow a com­bi­na­tion of which the GCM can be up to 16 000 kg. For any­thing heav­ier, you’ll need an EC driver’s li­cence. ( And a huge park­ing spot. – Ed.)


Most mo­torhomes are built on the same chas­sis used by de­liv­ery ve­hi­cles with a GVM of more than 3 500kg. Usu­ally, the driver of such a ve­hi­cle would hold a C1 driver’s li­cence, but the mo­ment that a ve­hi­cle is clas­si­fied as a mo­torhome, that re­stric­tion falls away and the tare re­quire­ment is ap­pli­ca­ble. As long as the tare doesn’t ex­ceed 3 500 kg, you may drive a mo­torhome with an or­di­nary B li­cence.


SA forms part of the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) and the driver’s li­cences of all mem­ber coun­tries are recog­nised mu­tu­ally. You don’t need an in­ter­na­tional driver’s li­cence to drive in our neigh­bour­ing coun­tries.


Your driver’s li­cence ex­pires ev­ery five years. When you ap­ply for a new card, you can still legally drive for three months with your old one af­ter it has ex­pired. Just keep your old card and the re­ceipt that you re­ceived with your re­newal ap­pli­ca­tion with you.


Th­ese things some­times sim­ply go miss­ing. Get a tem­po­rary driver’s li­cence at the test cen­tre while wait­ing for your new card to be is­sued.


If you’re too far from civil­i­sa­tion to ap­ply for a tem­po­rary driver’s li­cence, you may take a sworn af­fi­davit at a po­lice sta­tion. You may then drive around with this af­fi­davit for up to three days un­til you can get to a li­cence test cen­tre. Make sure the con­tents of the af­fi­davit ad­dress the fol­low­ing:

Why you no longer have your driver’s li­cence card. It’s go­ing to be hard to con­vince a traf­fice of­fi­cial that a leop­ard ate your li­cence, but you have to try, at least.

The code of your cur­rent (lost) driver’s li­cense. Don’t even dare to pre­tend that you are also li­cenced to op­er­ate a heavy ve­hi­cle or a mo­tor­cy­cle when you don’t.

Any re­stric­tions on your driver’s li­cense. This in­cludes hav­ing to wear spec­ta­cles when driv­ing or be­ing qual­i­fied to drive only au­to­matic ve­hi­cles.

Where the driver’s li­cence was is­sued. This en­ables a traf­fic of­fi­cer to joke about which prov­ince has the best driv­ers.

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