Buying a second hand car is always time consuming and fraught with problems. Beware: new and second hand cars are relatively expensive in South Africa. Finding good quality, used cars at low prices is very difficult. You would be lucky to find a reliable one for under ZAR 15000. The best way to ensure that the car is worth buying is to have it tested by the AA (Automobile Association of SA.) before purchasing. This way you will know exactly what you are getting and won’t end up with any unpleasant surprises.
Once you have decided to take ownership of the vehicle you must get a valid roadworthy certificate for it, either from a traffic department or from a government approved testing station. (The seller is not obligated to give this to you). This is necessary in order to transfer the vehicle into your name. The original registration papers of this vehicle must also be obtained from the previous Owner, together with a note from them stating that you have paid in full AND that they don’t owe anything on the car. If the vehicle was previously financed through a bank, a copy of the bank release certificate should be obtained, confirming that the financing has been settled.
You then have 21 days in which to register the car in your name and change the license disc accordingly. To do this you need the original registration papers, a roadworthy certificate, a notification of “change of ownership/sale of motor vehicle”, and a South African identity document or passport. If you are a foreigner you need to obtain a traffic register number from the relevant Traffic Department. For this you will need to present your foreign passport.
It is advisable to obtain full comprehensive insurance or at least insurance for balance of Third Party, fire and theft. Generally this is very difficult without a permanent address in South Africa or local bank account. Most insurance companies may not insure drivers under 25 years of age.
This process is obviously lengthy and may present varouis problems to a foreigner. At this stage only Drive South Africa offers a solution to this - Rental Purchase! You buy a car from them; they take care of all the paperwork etc. and they guarantee to buy the car back from you when you’re ready to leave the country. (And they DO pay). Drive South Africa offers COMPREHENSIVE insurance to any driver with a valid Drivers License, at very competitive rates. In addition, each vehicle comes with an AA membership (Automobile Association of South Africa). Rental Purchase is the best choice for overseas tourists, business people, university students, backpackers, sports people, or diplomats visiting South Africa for an extended period of time.