Electronic Signature Case Law in South Africa

FirstRand Bank Limited t/a Wesbank vs Leon Gregory Govendor. Case no:2021/25131

In what we believe to be the first case in South Africa the South Gauteng High Court ruled that electronic signatures are legally binding.
Wesbank demanded a certain Leon Govender return a vehicle it financed for failing to comply with the contract. Govender denied entering into the contract, which was signed online and electronically.

According to a witness to the signature process, the defendant received an SMS or email link to register his details on the document of the plaintiff. After that, the defendant would have received a number generated by the electronic system known as the One Time Pin (OTP), which allowed him to choose his communication with the plaintiff, namely through email or SMS. The OTP provided access to the system.

There was no reference to a digital signature where a certificate from a Trust Centre is appended to the document to prove its tamper proofing, or to a registered Trust Authority in South Africa. This was a credit agreement. Reference is made to the provisions of ECTA which governs both the electronic
contracts and the signatures placed on them.

The conclusion was there is overwhelming evidence that the defendant concluded the credit agreement for the purchase of the vehicle from the plaintiff. The signature process complied with the ECTA provisions.

Note: The SA Case Law supports other Global Case Law and legal opinion.

RealSign

RealSign utilizes two factor authentication through email and OTP. An additional security layer is available through digital certificates. RealSign is complaint with the ECTA Act. There are full audit trails throughout the system to prove each and every action taken, the time and date, and the parties interacting with the system and each other.

Convenience And Cost Effectiveness

Once you have experienced the electronic signature process, you will never want to go back to paper, ink signatures, scanning, emailing, tracking reminders and chasing signatories. What could potentially take days and weeks, can be achieved in minutes.

RealSign is the most cost-effective way to enable digital signatures in the organization.

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