My interpretation of the rules for a proper signature of Powers of Attorney for acceptance in a deeds registry (both in South Africa and Namibia) are as follows:
- A PA signed internally must by virtue of the Deeds Registries Act 47 of 1937 provisions also be signed by 2 witnesses, alternatively a Commissioner of Oaths.
- Any document (including a PA) signed in a country which has acceded to the Hague Convention on Authentication of Foreign documents, 1961, may be authenticated by the prescribed Apostille.
- A PA signed in a country other than a country in 2 above must be authenticated in the way and by the officials as set out in the High Court Rules on Authentication of documents signed outside for use inside the country.
- A document signed in a country specifically so designated in the sub rules (mostly in the British Commonwealth, with South Africa and Namibia having slight differences) of the Court Rules may be accepted if such document is an Affidavit or Solemn Declaration Affirmed before a Commissioner of Oaths.
- The Registrar in his/her discretion may waive the requirements for witnessing or further authentication on account of the availability of a comparable signature already filed in the registry.
The said High Court Rule includes a “Power of Attorney” in its definition of a “Document”
I have drawn PA’s in affidavit form which were then duly deposed to before a Commissioner of Oaths in a designated country. I submitted them as such for purposes of registration of transfers in the Deeds registry, without any further form of authentication. These have been accepted or rejected depending on the opinion of the 3rd examiner/Registrar at the time as to what the law and “office practice” dictate. I am of the opinion that these PA’s comply with all legal requirements and should be accepted.
I shall appreciate conveyancers’ and examiners’ comments.
Adrie van der Merwe
Fisher, Quarmby & Pfeifer