Validity Of Virtually Signed Affidavits

Ed Food SRL v Africa’s Best (Pty) Ltd (2022/1245) [2024] ZAGPJHC 1619 (14 March 2024)


The Respondent challenged the Applicant’s founding and confirmatory affidavit on the basis that the affidavits were commissioned virtually and therefore “not in the presence of” the Commissioner of oaths. 

The Respondent essentially contended that the commissioning of the founding and confirmatory affidavits via video conference call while the deponents to the affidavits were in Italy and the Commissioner of Oaths is in the Republic of South Africa, was in contravention of the Justices of the Peace and Commissioners of Oaths Act, 16 of 1963 and Regulations governing the administering of an oath, and accordingly the affidavits were irregular and fell to be set aside.

The commissioner of oaths made an affidavit, confirming to the Court that to the best of his knowledge and belief data integrity was maintained, and requested that the Court grant condonation for non-compliance with the Act and the Regulations.

Court’s Finding:

In summary it was found that in light of the comprehensive affidavit submitted by the Commissioner, there was substantial compliance with the Act and Regulations and the mere technicality of the deponent not being in the presence of the Commissioner of Oaths was something that constituted an unnecessarily technicality, which was a hindrance to the speedy and effectual administration of justice. 

The judge citing with approval this dictum: The tendency of recent rules of procedure in this Court has been to sweep away all unnecessary technicalities and hindrances to the speedy and effectual administration of justice.’


The Court upheld the validity of virtually signed affidavits, recognizing the importance of embracing technological advancements while ensuring substantial compliance with legal requirements. While acknowledging the necessity for adherence to laws and regulations, the ruling signifies a shift towards accommodating contemporary methods in legal proceedings, thus facilitating a more efficient and accessible justice system.

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