SOUTH AFRICA’s number plates are not changing and that’s official.

The national Department of Transport has not made a determination or published any notice regarding so-called new number plates.

According to a “Government Gazette” doing the rounds on the internet since last week, new plates would be introduced countrywide next year. Department spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi said: “The document that has been doing the rounds is not authentic and neither has the department made a determination to the effect reflected therein.”

The department would launch a probe into the source of the document and would take action, he said.

“We condemn the fabricated document with the contempt it deserves and urge all South Africans to ignore it while we investigate its source.”

The report, which broke yesterday, was accompanied by a copy of the “gazette”, dated January 28, 2015, on the planned introduction of new number plates.

In the document it was claimed the department proposed the registration plates be renewed every five years and have the South African Bureau of Standards certification below the licence mark of the province. The gazette, numbered 38430, gave the public four weeks to comment.

Transport stakeholders such as Justice Project of South Africa (JPSA), Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa), Automobile Association (AA) and Driving.co.za expressed their shock and said word began circulating last week, but they had not received any official confirmation from the department.

Howard Dembovsky, of JPSA, said he believed the source of the document originated from a presentation on the department’s various proposed draft amendments.

This was then posted on Twitter by Arrive Alive on August 2 with a picture illustrating the new-look registration plates. By yesterday, it had already been posted on various online news outlets and social media platforms.

Rob Handfield-Jones, managing director of driving skills company Driving.co.za, said the department introduced the notion six years ago, but was moving at a snail’s pace to implement it. He too was shocked to read that it was being "implemented” next year.

“The whole idea was announced with much fanfare in 2010 as I recall. So it has taken the department six years to do nothing, which is about par for the course for one of South Africa’s most ineffective government departments.”

The AA’s Layton Beard said they were not aware of a promulgation of the amendment and could therefore not comment.

Outa leader Wayne Duvenage said they too could not comment.