Legal status

The Post Office Trust Centre has been accredited by the South African Accreditation Authority in terms of section 37 of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 of 2002. The Electronic Communications and Transactions (ECT) Act 25 of 2002 sets the platform for transactions with legislated status and evidentiary weight.
In this regard the extracts from the Act below indicate the legislated status of authentication products and services.

  1. Preferred Authentication Service Provider : The South African Post Office is legislated as the Preferred Authentication Service Provider to Government.
    • 28. (2) For the purposes of subsection (1)(d) the South African Post Office Limited is a preferred authentication service provider...

  2. Accreditation: In terms of Section 37 of the ECT Act organisations may apply to have their products and services accredited as Advanced Electronic Signature.
    • 37. (1) The Accreditation Authority may accredit authentication products and services in support of advanced electronic signatures.

  3. For a Legislated Electronic Signature or Seal: Once accreditation has been received, Advanced Electronic Signatures may be used in cases where South African Law requires an electronic document to be signed. See Section 13(1) & 19 (3) below
    • 13. (1) Where the signature of a person is required by law and such law does not specify the type of signature, that requirement in relation to a data message is met only if an advanced electronic signature is used.
    • 19. (3) Where a seal is required by law to be affixed to a document and such law does not prescribe the method or form by which such document may be sealed by electronic means, that requirement is met if the document indicates that it is required to be under seal and it includes the advanced electronic signature of the person by whom it is required to be sealed.

  4. Evidentiary Weight: When Accreditation has been received and an Advanced Electronic Signature is used the burden of proof shifts away from the party receiving the electronically signed data and onto the signatory to prove that the signature is not his or hers.
    • 13. (4) Where an advanced electronic signature has been used, such signature is regarded as being a valid electronic signature and to have been applied properly, unless the contrary is proved

  5. As an Electronic Notary Signature: Once accreditation has been received an Advanced Electronic Signature may be used for notarizing of electronic documents.
    • 18. (1) Where a law requires a signature, statement or document to be notarised, acknowledged, verified or made under oath, that requirement is met if the advanced electronic signature of the person authorised to perform those acts is attached to, incorporated in or logically associated with the electronic signature or data message.

  6. For creating a Certified Electronic Copy of a paper document: Once accreditation has been received an Advanced Electronic Signature may be used for certifying electronic copies of paper documents.
    • 18. (3) Where a law requires or permits a person to provide a certified copy of a document and the document exists in paper or other physical form, that requirement is met if an electronic copy of the document is certified to be a true copy thereof and the certification is confirmed by the use of an advanced electronic signature.

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