Professional Driver Permits (PrDP)

About a professional driving permit

To drive on a public road in South Africa transporting goods, dangerous goods or passengers for an income you must have a professional driving permit (PrDP). There is currently no law stating that a person with a physical disability is not allowed to have a PrDP. As long as that person is able to demonstrate to an examiner that they have adequate control of the vehicle at all times.   However the medical criteria for a PrDP are significantly stricter than a normal private licence.

The permit is issued in addition to an ordinary driving licence. A PrDP applies to the following motor vehicle categories:

  • a goods vehicle with a gross vehicle mass exceeding 3 500kg
  • a breakdown vehicle or a bus
  • a minibus weighing more than 3 500kg or designed to carry 12 or more people (the driver included)
  • light motor vehicles, indicated in the economic sector for carrying passengers for reward (taxi-cab)
  • a motor vehicle designed to carry 12 or more people
  • any vehicle for which an operating licence is issued
  • dangerous goods vehicle (e.g. fuel tanker).

Categories of professional driving permit (section 116):

Professional driving permits are divided in the following categories:

Category “G”, which authorises the driving of a

  • goods vehicle, the gross vehicle mass of which exceeds 3 500 kilograms
  • breakdown vehicle;

Category “P”, which authorises the driving of

  • Those in Category “G”, plus
  • a bus;
  • a minibus (the gross vehicle mass of which exceeds 3 500 kilograms; or which is designed or adapted for the conveyance of 12 or more persons, including the driver)
  • a motor vehicle used for the conveyance of persons for reward;
  • a motor vehicle conveying 12 or more persons including the driver.

Category “D”, which authorises the driving of

  • Those in Category “G”, and “P”, plus
  • a goods vehicle carrying dangerous goods the gross vehicle mass of which exceeds 3 500 kilograms or a vehicle to which standard specification SABS 1398 “Road tank vehicles for petroleum-based flammable liquids” or standard specification SABS 1518: “Transportation of dangerous goods – design requirements for road tankers” apply.

Age restrictions for the motor vehicle categories are as follows:

  • you should be 18 years or older to hold a PrDP for a goods vehicle
  • you should be 21 years or older to hold a PrDP for a passenger vehicle
  • you should be 25 years or older to hold a PrDP for a dangerous goods vehicle.

You can only obtain a PrDP if you:

  • have a valid driving licence for the type of vehicle in question
  • have been certified as medically fit by a doctor  The following professionals may sign a medical certificate of fitness for professional drivers and instructors:

Medical practitioners

Health Practitioners, (note – who have successfully completed a health assessment course and are duly accredited to perform the functions of an occupational health practitioner)

  • have been certified by an approved training body [only required for category D (dangerous goods) vehicles]
  • do not have a criminal record for (in the past five years):
    • driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or a drug having a narcotic effect
    • driving a motor vehicle while the concentration of alcohol in your blood or breath exceeded a statutory limitation
    • in the case of an application for a category P and D permit, an offence of which violence was an element.
  • have never had your driving licence suspended
  • have never been convicted of a criminal offence or paid an admission-of-guilt fine.

As the operator or owner of the motor vehicle for which a PrDP is required, you may not let another person drive the vehicle on a public road unless they have a valid PrDP for the appropriate category.