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AUTHENTICATING DOCUMENTS SIGNED OUTSIDE OF SOUTH AFRICA

A number of complications arise with cross-border transactions, such as jurisdictional issues for example. Generally speaking, signing a document or contract overseas when it is intended to be used in South Africa does not invalidate such document. However, if the agreement or document is to be relied on for court proceedings or for use in amongst others the Deeds Office a specific procedure should be followed when signing (executing) such agreement or document in order for it to be accepted.

Authentication
In terms of High Court Rule 63, any document executed in any place outside South Africa shall be deemed to be
sufficiently authenticated for the purpose of use in South Africa if duly authenticated at such foreign place by the signature and seal of office of:

  • the head of the South African diplomatic/consular mission; or
  • a person in the administrative or professional division of the public service serving as a South African diplomatic
    consular abroad; or
  • any government authority of such foreign country charged with the authentication of documents;
  • the consul-general, consul, vice-consul or consular agent of the United Kingdom in that foreign country; or
  • a notary public in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland or in Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Botswana
    or Swaziland.

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