South Africa is currently one of the very few countries in the world that allow the use of any other country’s driving licenses.
As long as the license has a photograph and a signature and is one of our official languages or there’s a translation on it, a foreign drivers license is valid in South Africa.
However, this will be amended to include only the countries that have signed the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. Countries like Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Angola, Namibia and Zambia have not signed this convention and when the Bill goes through parliament, their licenses won’t be accepted in South Africa anymore.
Many South African transport companies employ Zimbabwean drivers. A Zimbabwean driver that’s driving a goods vehicle or a bus is legal if he has a defensive driving certificate (DDC) in terms of South African legislation.
The DDC is essentially a document that checks his/her medical condition and also endorses previous conditions on that license.
An International Driving Permit (IDP) does not take the place of a DDC, which expires every four years. There’s a photograph on the DDC – that is the document that is acceptable.
An IDP is just a translation of the Zimbabwean driver’s license. It has no value as far as Professional Driving Permits are concerned. Zimbabwe doesn’t have training for dangerous goods drivers. So, in terms of the legislation, somebody that’s driving a tanker with a Zimbabwean license is not legally licensed to do so in South Africa.
Below: Map showing signatories to Vienna Convention on Road Traffic.