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  • Hannah D

Settling in to South Africa

Updated: Feb 15

It's crazy to think that we've now been living in South Africa for just over a month. While we still have a lot to tick off the 'to do' list, we've also been super productive when it comes to getting up to speed with necessary processes and procedures.


It can be confusing navigating everyday jobs and admin tasks that aren't done the same way you're used to back home. Hopefully, my guide will help you settle into your new life in South Africa.


Getting a South African SIM card

Easy-peasy. Our UK iPhones were network unlocked which made the process a lot easier and also helped to keep costs down. We went to our nearest Vodacom store and simply asked for a local SIM. The cell (mobile) provider will then do the full setup for you*, including the RICA registration (Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication). You usually get a minimal amount of credit/airtime applied with the SIM, but you can get additional minutes added on as needed. Once you've then inserted your new SIM, make sure to note your new SA number and update this in your phone settings and anywhere else required (banking apps/social media pages, etc.)

*Your passport is required by the cell provider to do the setup, so don't forget to bring it with you.


Registering a car

If you're the owner of a new, pre-owned, built, or rebuilt vehicle, you must register it at the relevant registering authority to get a registration certificate. If the vehicle is financed, you will be classified as the financing institution. When it has then been registered and licensed, you will get a motor vehicle licence disc. You must register and license your vehicle within 21 days after a change of ownership. If you do not register it, you will have to pay arrears and penalties. The motor vehicle registration is then recorded on the national traffic information system (eNaTIS).


To register a new vehicle:

  1. To register a new vehicle, go to your appropriate registering authority and submit the following:

  • your identity document (ID)

  • proof of residential address e.g. utility account. If the utility bill is not in your name, the owner of the bill must make an affidavit declaring that you live at the address and the utility bill must be attached to the affidavit

  • the manufacturer's certificate containing all the relevant details of the vehicle (which can be obtained from the garage or other place of sale)

  • a roadworthy certificate (again, this can be provided by the garage or place of sale)

2. Complete the Application for Registration and Licensing of Motor Vehicle (RLV) form. Forms can be found on the eNaTIS website.


3. You will be contacted once your record is on the system.


To register a used vehicle:

  1. To register a pre-owned (used) vehicle, the seller must first complete and submit a Notification of change of ownership (NCO) form, which gives notification of change of ownership.

  2. Go to your relevant motor vehicle registration authority and submit the following:

  • your identity document (ID)

  • proof of residential address e.g. utility account. If the utility bill is not in your name, the owner of the bill must make an affidavit declaring that you live at the address and the utility bill must be attached to the affidavit

  • the vehicle registration certificate (in the seller's name)

  • a certificate of roadworthiness if the current certificate is older than 60 days

  • proof of purchase of the vehicle

  • a valid motor vehicle licence (ensure that the licence fees for the vehicle are up to date).

3. Complete the Application for Registration and Licensing of Motor Vehicle (RLV) form.

Forms can be found on the eNaTIS website.


4. You will be contacted once your record is on the system.


Property rental requirements

After numerous house viewings, you've finally found the rental of your dreams. So what do you do next?


Inspection

It's always sensible to do an inspection and take some photos of the condition of the property before/once you've moved in (as well as after) so that there are no nasty surprises when it comes to the end of the lease and getting your deposit back.


Lease agreement

Make sure you ask for a lease agreement in writing that sets out all the terms and conditions as well as the rights and responsibilities of the tenant(s) and landlord(s). You will usually be asked to pay a deposit upfront of at least one-two months' rent. The landlord(s) must pay the deposit back within seven days of the lease agreement ending (apart from any costs related to damages or items that need replacing). Our landlord also asked us to provide three months' worth of bank statements and a recent payslip, so it's worth having these documents available should you be asked for them.


Roles and responsibilities

Know what maintenance and bills are your responsibility versus the landlord's. For example, our landlord pays for the weekly gardener; however, we are responsible for the electricity as this is prepaid.


Registering your child at a South African school

You have the choice to enrol your child at a public or independent school. Public schools are state-controlled and independent schools are privately governed. Fees vary from school to school and you should contact a school directly for an application form.


Your child must be enrolled in a school between 1 August - 31 October of the preceding year. A Grade R applicant must be four years and turning five or older by 30 June the next year, and an applicant for Grade One must be five years and turning six or older by 30 June the next year.


To register the following documents are required:

  • Application form from the school

  • Official birth certificate

  • Immunisation card

  • If you are moving your child from one school to another, submit their latest school report, and a transfer card.

If your child is not a South African citizen, include the following documents:


Doggy daycare requirements

A happy pooch means a happy parent! Our Basset Hound, Snoop, loves going to daycare. He went to one back when we were in the UK and we've had no issues finding quality daycare centres here. Before your four-legged friend can join daycare, you will likely be asked to complete a registration form and submit copies of all of your dog's medical history (including up-to-date vaccinations, which are a necessity). Your dog will then be invited to the centre for them to assess his or her temperament and suitability for daycare. If suitable, you can then book in for daycare and boarding. To note - some centres don't allow certain breeds, so be sure to check their T&Cs before going through the registration process.


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