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AUTHENTICATION OF DOCUMENTS

Have you ever had to sign or legalise documents within South Africa for use abroad or vice versa. There are legislated conditions to be met when a document to be used in South Africa, is signed outside South Africa. This impacts documents to be used in a property transfer transaction.

Use this guide to ensure that your documents are legally valid and does not delay the transaction through re-signing and non-compliance with South African legislation and in particular Deeds Office regulations.

Rule 63 of the High Court lays down the following procedure for the proper authentication of documents:

1. Should the document be executed in anyone of the following countries –

  • England/Great Britain
  • Northern Ireland
  • Zimbabwe
  • Lesotho
  • Botswana
  • Swaziland

it may be authenticated by a Notary public.

2. Should the document be authenticated anywhere else in the world, such documents must be authenticated by one of the following –

  • The head of the South African diplomatic or consular mission or a person in the administrative or professional division of the public service, serving as an South African diplomatic, consular or trade office abroad (e.g. South African Embassy)
  • Any Government authority of such country charged with the authentication of documents
  • The consul-general, consul, vice-consul or consular agent of the United Kingdom

In addition an authentication certificate, signed by the above person(s) must be attached to the documents.

3. Should the document be authenticated by a member state of The Hague, such document must be authenticated by one of the following –

  • In the presence of any South African diplomatic or consular agent in the member country
  • The document must be authenticated by an Apostille, issued and signed by the above person.

In layman’s terms, it needs to be signed in the PRESENCE of one of the above and as follows –

  • Yourself and 2 witnesses to sign in full on last page (where applicable)
  • Yourself and 2 witnesses and commissioner to initial each page (bottom right corner)
  • The commissioner to sign, stamp and seal last page
  • Apostille to be completed and attached.

Raymond Scott |Consultant | Real Estate Law