South Africa is considering a legal change for drivers of South African-registered commercial vehicles that will end recognition of driving licences for some classes obtained in foreign countries and insist that all licences for such drivers must be obtained in South Africa.
The South African Road Freight Association sees this as a back-door route to preventing foreigners from being employed by South African freight companies.
While the proposed changes do not ban foreigners, they would, if enacted, require foreigners to undergo the long and expensive process of training and testing to get the South African licences, and that would probably require, at least for the testing stage, that they were legal residents of South Africa.
Yet residence requires the employment that comes once the licences have been obtained.
Many South African transport companies are happy to hire foreigners, especially for vehicles travelling outside the country, since there are a limited number of South African drivers prepared to undertake these long trips.
But at some stage in their journeys, they need to drive on South African roads.
At present, the special permits needed in South Africa for commercial vehicles can be issued against the production of recognised foreign drivers licences, along with other requirements, but the system does allow those who trained and were tested in several foreign countries to qualify fairly quickly for the required public vehicle permits.-Herald