WeBuyCars launches online car registration system — but there’s a catch

Through a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) and WeBuyCars have launched an online vehicle registration system in South Africa.

However, according to Faan van der Walt, CEO at WeBuyCars, it will still take some time for the system to be accessible to the public.

“This initiative to go digital will be a process that will take time,” said Van der Walt in an interview with eNCA.

“Over the last two years, we’ve engaged with the Road Traffic Management Corporation and the Department of Transport, and we’ve developed and tested this.”

“We are live. We can now register and do notifications of changes of ownership online,” he added.

Van der Walt emphasised that the system isn’t available to the public yet, and only the online interface between the RTMC and WeBuyCars has been launched thus far.

“At the moment, [it’s] not yet ready for the public, but the RTMC is engaging with corporate entities like ourselves, the banks, etc., to start transacting online,” he said.

“In the not-too-distant future, hopefully, we will be able to do it totally paperless across the board.”

“This is the first step towards going digital,” added Van der Walt.

Van der Walt said it is unlikely that the system will be publicly available this year and that he hopes it will be ready in 2024.

“Probably not this year. Hopefully next year. It will now depend on the public sector to start participating in this to help this initiative gain momentum.”

He said interested entities should engage with the RTMC to get the ball rolling.

Transport minister Sindisiwe Chikunga announced the launch of the private-public partnership between the RTMC and WeBuyCars on Tuesday, 22 August 2023.

“This partnership is a first of its kind, and the RTMC intends it to be the first of many as it continues to seek solutions to make transacting on the Natis system seamless for both members of the public and business stakeholders,” said Chikunga.

The system enables vehicle owners to deal with the necessary admin when purchasing a new or used vehicle without having to queue at the traffic department to do it manually.

It will also help the National Administration Traffic Information System (Natis) keep up with vehicle registrations and changes of ownership.

“A total of 3.2 million vehicle registration and change of ownership transactions are conducted on Natis annually and it is estimated that 50% of these are conducted by large institutions such as dealers and financial institutions,” said Chikunga.

Van der Walt highlighted several issues with vehicle registrations in South Africa that the new system will help to address.

“When you buy a vehicle, you’re not 100% sure whether you will be able to register it successfully because the registration document might be fraudulent or out of date,” he said.

“It might not be the latest document, or it could have been falsified, so it’s always a gamble.”

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WeBuyCars launches online car registration system — but there’s a catch