In short, the authentication by a notary of the signature on a document will be required where the document is signed in one country for use in another, accordingly, by authenticating a document the notary will attest to the authenticity of the signatory who signed the document in his/her presence.
The most important factor to consider, is whether the document will be executed in the Republic of South Africa, for use outside of the Republic, or, whether the document will be executed outside of the Republic of South Africa, for use in the Republic.
Authentication for use in the Republic
Here one has two procedures which could be followed, i.e. the short and long procedures. It should be noted that the short procedure will only be followed if special circumstances are present, which I will discuss later in this article as it relates to the Convention for the Abolition of the Requirements of Legislation for Foreign Public Documents, otherwise, the long procedure will have to be followed.
Authentication in terms of the Convention for the Abolition of the Requirement of Legislation for Foreign Documents (Short procedure)
Firstly, it should be noted that the convention only applies to public documents, i.e. documents originating from a government or official associated with the courts or tribunal of the State, administrative documents, notarial deeds, the official certificates attached to documents signed by persons in their private capacities, and, notarial authentication of signatures.