All your questions on Public Drivers Permits are answered! Relating to Field Guiding

All your questions on Public Drivers Permits are answered! Relating to Field Guiding

What is a PrPD?

This stands for Professional Driving Permit.

The main issue is the fact the any student under the age of 21 will not be able to get a PrDP because the SA law state that no person under the age of 21 may apply for this.

Why do you need this as a guide?

Firstly, to register as a guide your need your PrDP. As a guide, you take paying guests on game drives so you need a PrDP. Without this you cannot register as a guide and it will not be legal to take paying guests on a game drive. If you register as a guide and state that you will not be driving paying guests but rather taking them on mountain bike, boat, horseback or walking safaris, then you can register – but only in these instances.

Who qualifies?

To be fully covered when driving a vehicle – You must be fully licensed as well – you must be older than 21, and you WILL need a PrDP if you are transporting people – not only if you are doing so for reward – but also if the vehicle you are driving is designed for such transport!

When do you need a Professional Driving permit?

  • If the vehicle is designed to transport persons including the driver, then a PrDP is required.
  • If the passengers are transported for reward then a PrDP is required,
  • And if the gross vehicle mass (GVM) exceeds 3 500kg, then a PrDP is required.

What are the Procedures to apply for PrDP /Professional Driving Permit?
Your medical practitioner must complete form MC. You must complete form PD1 and submit it (together with form MC) to your local Driving Licence Testing Centre. You may have to take 4 photos if the Centre is not equipped with a Live Capture Unit. Once you have submitted form PD1 (application form) and form MC (Medical Certificate) to the driving licence testing centre (DLTC), together with the appropriate fee for application for a PrDP, one of the following may happen:

  • If the DLTC has a Live Capture Unit (LCU) installed they will take your fingerprints and submit it electronically to the SAPS. You will be given a bank account where you have to deposit the fee for this electronic verification; alternatively
  • If the DLTC does not have a LCU installed you will be referred to the local SAPS where the fingerprints will have to be taken by them and the appropriate fee paid to the SAPS.

Where should I apply for my Professional Driving Permit?

According to the road traffic regulations you are allowed to apply at any driving licence testing centre

How long before I am issued with my PrDP license?

The card manufacture period is usually 6-8 weeks. However once approved (i.e. police clearance and medical certificate have been submitted) a temporary driving licence with the authorised PrDP category can be issued immediately.

It has also been reported at DLTCs where the Live Capture Unit has been deployed that the period has been shortened to between 2 and 4 weeks.

What are my options if I am not 21?

Students under the age of 21 are still welcome to do the 23-week course and get all the training, experience and qualifications required to become a Field guide. They will not be able to book the work placement, this is because most of the placements are guiding placements. Therefore, we do not guarantee placements for students under the age of 21.

However, there are exceptions where we may be able to find other kinds of placements that will not require driving, such as mountain bike, boat, horseback or walking safaris as previously mentioned. Other options include anti-poaching, reserve management/game ranging, hunting outfitters, overlanding, tracking or hospitality work. These are far and few between and this is the reason we cannot guarantee a placement for under 21’s. If we are able to find a placement, the booking can be extended to 50 weeks and the balance of the placement fee can be paid. Alternatively, students can find their own placements after the course at no extra fee but then no assistance, support, mentorship is offered during that period.

Students under 21 then have the following decision to make:

  • They do the 23-week course and get qualified, after the course they can look for non-guiding work or other work, or go study further until they are 21. They can then get their PrPD, register as a guide and then look for a Field Guide Job
  • Find work after school to earn a living and save money OR go study a related field or get something else under their belt. When they are 21, they can then sign up for the 50-week course, which will include a placement.

It is a good idea as a student to have all the information to make an informed decision. It is also important to know all the facts and be told about limitations for under 21’s, which we feel is the responsibility of training providers so that there are no nasty surprises during or after a Field Guide course and you are told ‘Sorry, you can’t guide until you are 21.’

Please note that this blog is related to Field Guiding and not PDP’s in general. Should you have any personal questions relating to PDP’s you need to consult with your local traffic department. Here are some helpful links and websites.

Contact details for the Department of Transport
Tel: 012 309 3000
E-mail: [email protected]
Information Centre / Helpdesk
Ms Caroline Khoza
Tel: 012 309 3657 / 3774
E-mail: [email protected]

What is the difference between a PDP and a PrDP

Happy safe driving……….