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Electronic Signatures and Sale of Immovable Property

 
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1. The Alienation of Land Act provides as follows in section 2(1) thereof:

 

2 (1) No alienation of land after the commencement of this section shall, subject to the provisions of section 28, be of any force or effect unless it is contained in a deed of alienation and signed by the parties thereto or by their agents acting on their written authority. 


Therefore, for any offer to purchase relating to immovable property to be valid and binding it must comply with the above requirements of being in firstly writing and secondly signed  

 

2. The question begging answer is, what constitutes “signature” and is it broad enough to include “electronic signature”

 

There is no definition of a signature of deeds and documents in our law. In general there is no particular mode or form required, provided the person intends it for his/her signature.


A cross or mark which may include a thumb print, is also acceptable provided it is done in the presence of a commissioner of oaths who attaches the full names of the person affixing the cross or mark (see regulation 3(2) of the Justices of the Peace and Commissioners of Oaths Act 16 of 1963).


If a person suffers from physical defects, e.g. deafness, dumbness, blindness, then to protect him/herself a notary should affix a certificate that he/she read over and explained the deed/document and that the party understood and duly signed in his/her presence and that of the witnesses  

 

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