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You and Your Rights

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You and Your Rights

Please note that since this book was last published in 1997 some of the laws that have been referenced may have changed. We are doing our best to update the articles, however, it is advisable that you to consult an attorney before relying on any information contained herein.

Motoring Over The Border

Complying with laws in other countries

When you drive over the border in southern Africa, you may be confronted with traffic laws, customs and insurance requirements that differ from those in South Africa. To ensure trouble-free motoring, you should attend to the formalities at least a month in advance of an intended journey and learn about the regulations of the countries you intend to visit.

Driving licences

Ensure that everyone in the party who intends to drive possesses a valid driving licence. A learner's licence may not be sufficient. Your South African driving licence is recognised in Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

If you intend driving in any other country, you should take with you an international driving licence obtainable from the Automobile Association. These are valid for 12 months in '1926 and 1949 Convention' countries and for up to 36 months in '1968 Convention' countries.

Take your South African driving licence with you even if you have an international licence; a car hire firm may need it as proof that you have been a licensed driver for more than 12 months.

If you have not been issued with an identity document (book of life), a certified Photostat copy of a separate valid driving licence is recognised in most countries except Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi, where you must produce the original licence or an international driving licence.

Warning - Obeying the traffic laws

In Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zambia, you must yield to traffic approaching from the right at uncontrolled intersections. The speed limit in Zimbabwe and Zambia varies from a maximum of 100km/h to 50km/h in certain built-up areas, and in Malawi, the maximum is 80km/h.

Penalties for speeding in these countries are often severe. Traffic offenders are given the option of paying a spot fine or waiting in jail for their case to be heard. It is advisable therefore to carry enough cash to pay any fine.

Temporary export of motor vehicles

If you drive beyond the southern African common customs area, your car will be regarded as a temporary export, liable for import duty when you return.

South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland comprise the common customs area. When you enter another country, record (in duplicate) the particulars of your car on form NEP (customs), so that you do not have to pay duty on it when you return.

Other articles on which duty can be imposed, such as cameras, must also be recorded on this form.

To conform with exchange-control regulations, all vehicles that are temporarily exported by air or sea from South Africa or by rail to Zimbabwe must be recorded on a 'Declaration in respect of goods leaving the Rand Monetary Area' form NEP. Ask an official at your bank to assist you to complete this form.

Registration documents

South African registration and licence documents for motor vehicles are recognised in most countries. If you drive a vehicle that is not registered in your name, such as a 'company car' or a car that you've borrowed from someone, you must be in possession of a police clearance certificate to confirm that the vehicle has not been stolen. You can get an international certificate for motor vehicles from the Automobile Association, although this document is not required for travel in southern Africa.

Insurance

Ask your insurer or broker whether your comprehensive insurance policy is valid in the countries you intend to visit and what arrangements must be made for cover in terms of the Multilateral Motor Vehicle Accidents Fund (MMF). A temporary extension of a comprehensive policy can be arranged to meet most contingencies while touring beyond the border.

Some insurers, including the Automobile Association, have special 'package' travel insurance policies, which include cover for personal accident insurance, medical expenses and cover for caravans and trailers.

THIRD PARTY INSURANCE This is compulsory in most countries in the world. South African (MMF) cover is valid only in Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho. In other countries, special certificates of insurance must be obtained from your insurer before you start your journey. You must produce the valid licence clearance certificate and car registration papers of each vehicle to be insured when you apply for this type of cover. It is also advisable to take your car registration papers and a police clearance certificate with you in case you have to prove that you own the vehicle you're driving.

Some countries levy a special road safety tax on cars entering from across the border. The amount varies from territory to territory and is payable at border posts.

At Lesotho border posts, a toll is levied on vehicles leaving that country.

Nationality plates

The South African international registration plate (ZA) must be displayed at the rear of vehicles, including trailers and caravans registered in South Africa.

Caravans

An illuminated or luminous warning sign in the form of a yellow triangle on a blue square must be displayed at the front of the towing vehicle and the rear of the trailer or caravan.

The registration number of the towing vehicle must be displayed at the rear of the trailer or caravan, together with the registration number of the towed vehicle in Malawi and Zambia. This is not required in Zimbabwe, but in all three countries a caravan must show a red 'T' plate to the rear and a white one at the right front of the caravan. Two safety chains must be attached to the tow-bar.

Disclaimer :: You and Your Rights
Although we have gone to great lengths to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this database, it is important to remember that laws, government departments, interest and taxation rates are constantly changing. If you have a particularly difficult problem you are advised to consult a qualified legal authority. The publishers, editors and their representatives cannot accept responsibility for any act or omission arising from consulting the information contained herein.
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General Disclaimer: The content of Legal City does not constitute legal, tax or financial advice, nor does it necessarily reflect the views of our management, staff, shareholders, associates, contributors, authors or suppliers. Even though every endeavour has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information we cannot be held responsible for any errors and/or omissions. By using this web sitebridey you agree to accept and abide by our terms and conditions.
This web site and all its content is copyright © 2000-2014, Legal City CC • Web site managed with qPortal Content Management v 4.0.0 • This page loaded on July 22, 2014 at 7:26:34 pm, SA Standard Time.