Vehicle registration plates of Swaziland

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Number plates of the Kingdom of Swaziland are similar in size as their South African counterparts and are displayed on both the front and back of the vehicle.

Current design[edit]

The current design, introduced in 2010, closely resembles the number plates used in South Africa, purportedly in an attempt to reduce hijacking of Swazi-registered cars in that country.[1] The introduction of these plates is somewhat controversial with some believing them to be illegal.[2]

Plate numbers consist of a random letter, followed by the letters SD[a], a space, three numbers, another space, and then two random letters (e.g. JSD 136 AM). This allows for 26 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 26 x 26 = 17,576,000 vehicle registration numbers.

The 2010 design consists of black lettering superimposed over a pictoral reference of a landscape of hills. Between the main number and the registration districts, two traditional Swazi "beehive" huts (known as Gucasithandaze[3]) are shown over a background of the setting sun. Plates are valid for five years, and have a sticker indicating the year of expiry.

Like their counterparts in Zimbabwe, licensing requirements include a self-adhesive version of the plate that is displayed on the vehicle windshield. Unusually, this version contains a QR code that encodes the plate number.

With the change in number plates, it became possible for private citizens to obtain personalised plates.[4]


Before 1980 they were white-on-black (front and rear) and were up to five numbers following the letters 'SD'. Diplomatic plates were three numbers following 'SD CD'.

SD 99999 SD 99999
SD CD 999 SD CD 999

Between 1980 and 2011, a black-on-yellow system was used. The previous numbering system was changed so that the last numbers became letters. Diplomatic plates were yellow-on-black, but still follow the same numbering pattern.

SD 999 XX SD 999 XX
SD CD 999 SD CD 999

Initially the two trailing letters (XX in the figures above) indicated the district of registration, however as there are only four Districts of Swaziland, this system would have allowed for a maximum of 4000 registered vehicles. As this was clearly insufficient the trailing letters were then assigned randomly and so 10 x 10 x 10 x 26 x 26 = 676,000 registration numbers could be assigned.[citation needed]

Number plates of the Royal household are a number following a single 'S'.


  1. ^ SD indicating Swaziland
  1. ^ "New Swaziland Number Plates Out". Bloogle. Retrieved 2011-12-13. 
  2. ^ "New number plates 'illegal'". Swazi Observer. Retrieved 2011-12-13. 
  3. ^ "Msunduza, the township above Mbabane, the Swazi capital". Worldpics. Retrieved 2011-12-13. 
  4. ^ "You can now apply for personalised number plates". Swaziland News. Retrieved 2011-12-13. 

External links[edit]