No clicks in Number Plates

WINDHOEK – With all the excitement that the introduction of personalised number plates brought to motor vehicle owners, some words and names cannot be used, the Roads Authority has said.

Motor vehicle owners who would like to personalise their number plates using words/names that contain clicks, such as those used in languages like Damara/Nama cannot do so.

The Head of Corporate Communications at the Roads Authority, Audrin Mathe confirmed that it is against their policy to use clicks on personalised number plates.

Mathe could, however, not clearly explain what the reason for such a move was.

"The regulations provide that PLN may only consist of alphabetical or numerical or a combination of both the alpha-numeric characters. This is a stipulation of the enabling legislation. For the avoidance of doubt, it is not only the Damara/Nama names that are affected. All other Namibian language groups are," was the response given by Mathe.

It is, however, not clear how “all other languages are affected” as one can spot personalised number plates in Otjiherero, Afrikaans or Oshiwambo to mention but a few.

Mathe stated that languages such as Silozi also have clicks and are therefore also affected.

A public member complained in an sms messsage to one of the local daily newspapers that they were prohibited from using their mother tongue when personalising their number plates.

“Can the people who swore to uphold and protect the constitution intervene as we are also Namibians (and this was gladly recognised by Home Affairs long time ago,” the sms read.

It is not clear what exactly the reason is for the decision.

“A number plate is internationally recognised and it becomes almost practically impossible to manage,” was another of Mathe’s responses.

Mathe could, however, not explain what exactly he meant by “practically impossible to manage”.

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