Monday, May 20, 2024
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The number plates melodrama


…as Lesotho runs three number plates

Seabata Mahao

A move to correct a Ministry of Transport blunder to hand down vehicle registration number plates bearing the Royal Office symbol – coat of arms will see the country delve into a melodramatic mayhem of running three symbols of plates until the November 2021 deadline.

By the beginning of the year new plates bearing the coat of arms symbol were rolled-out only to later be discovered to have been erroneously awarded hence a move to go back to the Basotho hat (mokorotlo) which was the national registration plate symbol since time in memorial. However, the new mokorotlo-symbolled number plates have a slight alteration compared to the initial ones, which means that even though the country is going back to that symbol, it is in fact a new one.

An alteration of the plates will be rolling for the third time in a space of less than a year with both the old mokorotlo and the coat of arms number plates being prematurely aborted in favour of the new symbol. The old Mokorotlo number plates are due for expiration in 2024 while the coat of arms plates was due to expire by 2026.

The ministry made a compelling announcement this week through a circular inked by the Minister of Transport, TÅ¡oeu Mokeretla that those who have number plates with the coat of arms return them to the ministry where they will be furnished with those bearing the new Mokorotlo.

This follows a long-drawn-out contemplation from the ministry after they were ordered by cabinet to change the number plates anticipated to milk a lucrative M24million.      

Mokeretla indicated that Cabinet has decided that all the people with the new number plates return them and be given the latest ones within the November deadline.

“…As the Ministry of Transport we realized that the Coat of Arms is only meant for the Office of their Majesties. So when we have seen the problem we have to correct it and that is why I reported to the Cabinet that the Coat of Arms is only for the Office of His Majesty,” he said.

Mokeretla stated that after the announcement all the necessary procedures were followed in order to then replace the Basotho Hat with the Coat of Arms.

“The Public is expected to handover the set of number plates as it is, the one that is put behind and in front of the car. No one will be expected to pay for the change of the number plates but the government will incur the expenses,” Mokeretla said.

He further stated that those who will return the number plates after the deadline will pay certain amount for the changes; he also added that those who have lost one of the number plates will also pay to get the new number plates.

“This service of changing number plates will be done even on weekends from 09:00 hours to 14:00 hours in order to speed up the process and avoid stampede. From November 1, 2021 it will be a criminal offence to drive a vehicle with number plates bearing the coat of arms and law enforcement will take prosecution matters,” he said.

He stated that the process of vehicle registration, new temporary number plates will still continue normally and the Ministry urges the public who still use the old number plates to change them but they are not for free.

Additionally, the public is advised that the people who registered their number plates in 2020 before the first change of the number plates from Basotho hat to the coat of arms will be excused until their number plates expire in 2024. They will have to pay for the renewal of new number plates as usual.

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