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Friday, June 14, 2024

KZN truck licences no longer most expensive

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KwaZulu-Natal is no longer the most expensive province in South Africa to licence a truck and trailer in. 

SA Trucker’s latest analysis of the different fees charged by all nine provinces show that the most expensive title now goes to the Free State, followed by KwaZulu-Natal, with Gauteng in the third most expensive spot.

The cheapest province to licence a truck and trailer in is Limpopo, closely followed by the North West. Then comes a mix of provinces competing for the third cheapest spots, depending which weight category applies.

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Fee structure for truck licences

Provinces charge a basic fee for the first 12 tons and then add another “penalty fee” for every half a ton, or part thereof, that the truck or trailer goes over the 12,000 kg limit. 

KZN truck licences no longer most expensive per 500 kg

This 12-ton limit applies in all nine provinces, with the Free State now leading the pack in demanding the highest “penalty fee” from commercial vehicle owners for each 500 kg over this limit.

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The Free State wants R2,700 per half ton over the 12-ton limit, followed by KZN (R2,442) and Northern Cape (R2,400).

Limpopo and Mpumalanga are the only two provinces with half-ton “penalty fees” still listing under R2,000 per 500 kg or part thereof. In Limpopo’s case, the amount is R1,774 per half ton, and in Mpumalanga, it’s R1,940 per half ton.

“Penalty fees” quickly add up 

No provincial Department of Transport can explain the reasoning behind these arbitrary “penalty fees”, with fleet operators suspecting these fees are thumb sucks aimed at extracting as much tax from the transport teat as the long-suffering truck owner can bear. 

These high fees quickly add up when licensing a super link or tri-axle; and the fees can even motivate in which province a large fleet owner decides to locate its head office, in order to save many hundreds of thousands in Rands.

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KZN truck licences no longer most expensive Free comparison

Just looking at rigid trucks, to licence a 16-ton truck, which is 8x500kg units over the 12-ton limit in all provinces, will cost R19,536 in KwaZulu-Natal, but R14,192 in Limpopo – a saving of R5,344. For a small bakery running 10 trucks, this saving can pay a lot of drivers’ bonuses.

The popular Mercedes-Benz Actros truck tractor, which weighs in at 26 tons, cost R18,704 less to licence in Limpopo than in KZN, while KZN in turn is R7,224 cheaper than the Free State. All amounts are valid for the 2024 fiscus.

Expect to see more ZN trucks

With the Free State now a lot pricier than KZN for heavy rigs due to its expensive “penalty fee”, the many fleets from KZN that run with Free State plates will start putting the new ZN plates on any new trucks to save many thousands of rands – taking their truck business away from the Free State.

KZN truck licences no longer most expensive Bakkie

They will likely keep licensing their small trucks in the Big Sky province, however, as the Free State is still the second cheapest province after Limpopo for 10-ton lorries and in third place after the North West and Limpopo provinces when it comes to the bakkies.

Why not have a national rate?

This comparison begs the question why are the licence fees different in each province? SA Trucker would suggest that taking the 2024 national average and using that amount across the country for each gross vehicle weight would enable the national Department of Transport to implement a much more streamlined fee structure that would assist fleet owners to licence their vehicles via the eNatis system with a few clicks, instead wasting time by queueing in local licencing offices, or paying a proxy to do so. 

KZN truck licences no longer most expensive NP200

The alternative would be for the departments of transport in each of the nine provinces to lower their fees to attract more fleet owners by saving them time and money, in order to boost their local economies in competition with other provinces. But this is not, apparently, what government officials do.

KZN truck licences no longer most expensive Free comparison

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