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    With so many options available to modern consumers, buying a used car is easier than ever. Finding a car you love is only half of the battle, though, as there are several other considerations to make. Whether purchasing from an authorised dealership or classified ads, or responding to an advertisement in printed media, it is important to ensure the correct paperwork is present to avoid any complications. Some of the necessary paperwork such as a driver's licence and proof of insurance are obvious essentials, but there are some lesser-known documents that are just as important.

    Photo ID

    There are several forms of acceptable photo ID acceptable for presentation when making a purchase. An official South African driving licence issued after 2003 is acceptable as it has a picture of the driver printed on the front. The older paper licence is not acceptable and any driving licence issued before that time is out of date and requires replacement. Any driver can replace an old licence at a designated Motor Vehicle Registration Authority (MVRA) with provided forms and a small fee. An official South African Identity Document is available for any citizens and permanent residents over the age of 16, and it is widely accepted, as well as a South African passport as long as it has not expired.

    Change of Ownership Form

    The change of ownership form is important because it informs the government that the prior owner of the vehicle no longer has it. Obviously, this has enormous ramifications if the new owner racks up fines or breaks the law in some way while driving the new vehicle. Like most of the forms required by the government when buying a new car, it is available from a local registration authority, but it is also available for download from the Electronic National Traffic Information System (eNaTIS) website.

    Proof of Purchase

    A receipt of sale may also be required by the government when attempting to register a new or used vehicle. Large established dealerships usually offer this as standard, but smaller companies or individuals selling a car through a classified advertisement may not think to offer proof of purchase to the buyer. Not having proof of purchase may prove problematic when acquiring the correct roadworthy and registration certificates later, so always insist upon a receipt or other proof of purchase when buying, and remember to offer one if selling. A simple note with the details of the sale and the details of both parties is sufficient.

    Roadworthy Certificate

    The roadworthy certificate is perhaps the most important document required of drivers in South Africa. It is a legal requirement of the South African Government that drivers have their vehicles tested thoroughly before allowing them on the open road. Similar to the MOT certification issued to British drivers, the roadworthy certificate is only issued to the owner of a car when the vehicle is deemed safe for public use. Having the vehicle tested at a certified public or private testing station is the only way to obtain a legitimate roadworthy certificate. The National Road Traffic Act demands that each legitimate testing station is registered, and the South African government has a sizable database noting the location of all registered testing centres. Further information about roadworthy documentation is available through the National Traffic Information System (NaTIS), the official register for all vehicle, driving licence, contravention and accident data.

    Registration Certificate

    Whether purchasing a used car, a new car or even a re-built vehicle, every type of motorised vehicle must have a registration certificate. This includes a scooter or motorcycle. To obtain a registration certificate the owner must register the vehicle with the Motor Vehicle Registration Authority. To obtain it, the driver must present themselves at a local registration authority with a valid government ID, a valid driver's licence, the manufacturer's certificate and a roadworthy certificate. Used vehicles also require a Notification of Change of Ownership form, a vehicle registration certificate in the seller's name and a Registration and Licensing of Motor Vehicle form. Be aware that the registration of any vehicle must occur within 21 days of a change of ownership, or the new owner is liable to receive a fine or penalty points. A vehicle registration may also become null and void if it has been reposed for more than a month, if it was declared unfit for use or if a deregistration certificate has been issued.

    Whether you want to buy a BMW, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Ford, Hyundai or any other new or used car you can find a large range of vehicles through classified ads. If attempting to make a purchase, be sure to take all of the correct documentation along with you. If selling a vehicle, be sure to obtain all of the correct documents to avoid costly fines or driver demerit points.

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