Back Arrow E-Sign and the Law

We’re not just securing email and eSigning.

We’ve made transactions in South Africa more modern and vibrant by speeding transactions with eSignatures.

And we’ve been doing it with them since 2008.

Electronic Signature Laws and Legality in South Africa

Court Admissible
RSign Used in Business
Yes, since 2000, in Africa since 2001, and in South Africa since 2008.
South Africa
Recommended Service
eSignature in RSign, RMail, and RForms services.

Common Use

Electronic signatures for use with local and international business, within financial services, insurance, sales proposals and contracts, NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements), employment letters, scope or statements of work, equipment leasing, legal, human resources, purchase and procurement, real estate, and property management industries and functional areas, among other uses.

Watch full video of JJ Milner discuss RSign at Optimize!2020.

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We launched RSign to every single one of our customers, with the initiative we did together, which was exciting

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JJ Milner

JJ Milner

Managing Director, Global Micro

Legal Aspects

South Africa has legally recognizing electronic signatures since 2002 to promote digitalization and eco-friendly business transactions.

Scope of Electronic Signatures in South Africa

South Africa operates under the mixed legal system that incorporates principles of a Civil Law System inherited from Dutch, a Common Law System inherited from English and a Customary Law System inherited from African countries.

Electronic signatures in South Africa are regulated by Common Law and the legalities of electronic signatures in South Africa are defined in the South African Electronic Communication Transactions Act 25 of 2002.

Overview of the South Africa Electronic Communication Transactions Act

The South African government started enforcing the Electronic Communication Transactions Act (ECTA) in 2002 to define, develop, regulate and govern a legal structure for e-commerce in South Africa.

There are 14 chapters in ECTA that provide guidelines for electronic communication in any form – email, SMS and other internet-based platforms, as well as electronic transactions and electronic documents. Chapter 3 (Facilitating Electronic Transactions) and Chapter 6 (Authentication Service Providers) include specific guidelines for electronic signatures.

Electronic Signature Definition as per South African ECTA

ECTA defines electronic signature as an electronic data that is logically attached or associated with other electronic data such as an electronic transaction or electronic document facilitating the provision for a signatory to sign.

As per ECTA, there should be a proof of the relationship between the electronic signature and electronic document, and there should be proof that the electronic signature belongs to a signatory.

Electronic Signature Definition as per South African Common Law

As per South African common law, an electronic signature should meet the following requirements to be valid:

The electronic signature should be in the form of a name, and it should be on the electronic document to serve as binding evidence.

The signatories should themselves be able to eSign using an electronic signature platform.

The signatory should consent to using an electronic signature on the attached electronic document.

Types of Electronic Signatures as per South African ECTA

Standard electronic signatures and advanced electronic signatures are the two types of electronic signatures that ECTA of South Africa recognises.

Standard Electronic Signatures: Scanned handwritten signatures are considered standard electronic signatures as per ECTA. The non-secure electronic signatures will be deemed to valid when a secured and authenticated communication was used, reliability of communication can be ensured, and timestamps of communication can be submitted.

Advanced Electronic Signatures: As per ECTA, advanced electronic signatures can facilitate proof of electronic signature and electronic communication ensuring the evidentiary value of an agreement for a transaction.

Use of RSign, RMail, and RForms electronic signature services in their standard service implementations meet the standards for an Advanced Electronic Signatures in South Africa. RSign, RMail, and RForms eSignatures return a robust forensic audit trail and use cryptography to logically associate and digitally seal the original document sent for eSignature with Internet forensics associated with each signer, the signed copy, and uniform timestamps of each step of the process. The RSign, RMail, and RForms cryptographic seals render the eSign record with its certified electronic signature certificate and/or Registered Receipt™ email record, an authenticable proof record.

Exceptions to the use of Electronic Signatures as per ECTA

ECTA excludes the following documents for electronic signatures and electronic communication: Wills, sale agreements of immovable property, lease agreements for land exceeding 20 years, and bills of exchange.

Laws Referenced

South African common law and the South African Electronic Communication Transactions Act (ECTA)

Disclaimer: Neither RPost nor its affiliates provide legal opinions. The information on RPost and its affiliates and products websites is for general information purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice or to provide any legal opinions. Laws and regulations change from time to time and neither RPost nor its affiliates guarantee that all of the information on RPost and its affiliates’ websites are current, correct, or with sufficient detail for the purpose of each reader. You should consult your legal counsel for specific jurisdictional details and other issues.

Tradenames are owned by the named company. Service benefit is summary, not intended to be a case study.​ RPost technology is patented. RMail, RSign, and RPost are trademarks owned by RPost.