The Deeds Registries Act defines a notary public as follows;
“notary public” means a person registered as such in terms of the Legal Practitioners Act [Chapter 27:07] and, in relation to any document executed outside Zimbabwe, means a person lawfully practising as such in the place where the document was executed
In Zimbabwe a notary public must be registered as such by the High Court. A notary public must be a legal practitioner but a legal practitioner may not necessarily be a notary public. The notary public is authorized to draft and attests contracts and other documents. Documents which must be drafted by a notary public include notarial deed of trust, notarial deed of change of name, notarial bond, and ante nuptial contract.
Any document which is executed outside Zimbabwe for use in Zimbabwe must be authenticated in terms of the High Court (Authentication of Documents) Rules, 1971. The Rules define authentication as the verification of any signature on a document. This authentication may be done by a notary public in the country where the document is executed. Powers of attorney, affidavits and consent papers signed outside Zimbabwe must be authenticated for them to be valid in Zimbabwe. The effect of having documents executed outside Zimbabwe not authenticated is illustrated by the case of Mystical Trading (Pvt) Ltd & Ors v Addx Trading 528 (Pty) Ltd & Ors HH132/11 where the court held as follows:
“An examination of the resolutions clearly shows that there is no compliance with the
above rule with respect to the resolutions purported to be emanating from the second and third applicants. The second applicant is based in Mauritius and the third applicant is based in South Africa. In terms of the above rule, the resolutions were clearly not properly authenticated for use in this court. The resolutions are therefore not acceptable. To the extent that the interests of the first applicant cannot be delinked from the other two applicants, it follows that this fatal procedural irregularity impinges on the first applicant’s position before the court. This finding means that there is no founding affidavit to this application. I believe this is a matter of law which the court can also raise mero motu. “
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