File picture: David Ritchie / Independent Media.

Cape Town - Motorists could be driving around with an extra letter on their number plates as soon as this weekend, with the Western Cape Department of Transport confirming an imminent changeover from CA to CAA licence numbers.

However, unlike previous number plate ‘relaunches’ in other provinces, motorists who currently have CA plates will not be forced to make the switch. This comes down to the very reason that the new lettering is being introduced - the possible number combinations for the CA plate have almost been depleted.

Once that happens no further CA licence numbers will be issued, the department said, but those who currently have CA plates will be able to keep them indefinitely and will also be able to transfer them to other vehicles that they own.

CA or CAA? The choice is yours

“If someone therefore obtains a new vehicle and registers it in their name, they could either request that their CA number be transferred from the old to the new vehicle or sport a new CAA number,” a department spokesperson said.

“One would hence see both CA and CAA numbers on our roads for the foreseeable future.”

The department also warned that when the CA combinations do run out, the system will not allow any new numbers to be issued for the rest of that day. Thus those waiting for a new licence number will have to wait until the following business day for a CAA number to be issued by the system.

“This disruption is unavoidable for technical reasons, and members of the public are requested to be patient with registering authorities on the day of the changeover,” the department said.

The system will start issuing numbers from CAA 10 000, while the first 9999 CAA numbers will be reserved as ‘special’ licence numbers, available at an additional cost.

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