Terms and Conditions were
last updated on 3 Aug 2008
You and Your Rights
Please note that since this book was last published in 1997 some of the laws that have been referenced may have changed. We
are doing our best to update the articles, however, it is advisable that you to consult an attorney before relying on any information contained herein.
Commissioner Of Oaths
Swearing to an affidavit
A commissioner of oaths is entitled to administer an oath and is the person before whom
members of the public must sign an affidavit.
The following persons are among those who are qualified to act as commissioners of
oaths for as long as they occupy the following positions:
- An advocate;
- An attorney;
- The manager of a branch of a bank;
- The principal, headmaster or headmistress of a school;
- A South African National Defence Force officer of the rank of captain or adjutant of a
unit or higher;
- The medical superintendent, secretary, matron or nursing sister of a
- The manager and superintendent of a private hospital;
- Any assistant manager or other official of higher rank or the legal adviser of a
registered insurance company;
- The secretary, assistant secretary and designated agent of a registered bargaining councils;
- A member of parliament (mp);
- Any person appointed to act as a marriage officer;
- An organiser in the full-time employment of a registered political party;
- Certain post office employees;
- All members of the police service, including temporary members and members of the police
reserve when on duty;
- All members of the Department of Correctional Services of the rank of sergeant or
- The rector, vice-rector, chancellor, vice-chancellor, deputy vice-chancellor, principal,
vice-principal, accountant, registrar, deputy registrar, assistant registrar, director,
deputy director and faculty secretary of a university.
Only the more commonly encountered commissioners of oaths have been listed here - there
are many other office-bearers, especially government officials, who are commissioners of
oaths. Before administering an oath, a commissioner will ask you whether you:
- Know and understand the contents of the declaration (the affidavit);
- Object to taking the prescribed oath;
- Consider the prescribed oath to be binding on your conscience.
If you acknowledge that you know and understand the declaration and inform the
commissioner that you have no objection to taking the oath and that you consider the oath
to be binding on your conscience, the commissioner will ask you to say: I swear that the
contents of this declaration are true, so help me God'.
If you acknowledge that you know and understand the contents of the declaration, but
object to taking the oath, or if you inform the commissioner that you do not consider the
oath to be binding on your conscience, the commissioner must instead administer an
affirmation by asking you to say: I truly affirm that the contents of this declaration are
true'. You will then be required to sign the declaration in the presence of the
commissioner. A deponent (the person taking the oath) who cannot write must make a mark
(such as a cross) at the foot of the declaration in the presence of the commissioner. Then
the commissioner must certify (below the signature or mark) that the deponent has
acknowledged knowing and understanding the contents of the declaration. The commissioner
must also state the manner, place and date of making of the oath or affirmation.
Thereafter the commissioner signs the declaration and prints his or her full name,
business address and designation (for example, 'Attorney of the Supreme Court of South
Commissioners may not charge a fee for administering an oath or affirmation or for
signing a declaration, and may not administer an oath or affirmation relating to a matter
in which they have an interest.
Originally published by and copyright © 1997, 1992 - The Reader's Digest Association South Africa (Pty) Ltd, Cape Town.
All rights reserved. Management and editing of articles by Legal City CC, additional copyright © 2000 - 2014
Disclaimer :: You and Your Rights
Although we have gone to great lengths to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this database, it is important to remember that laws, government departments, interest and taxation rates are constantly changing. If you have a particularly difficult problem you are advised to consult a qualified legal authority. The publishers, editors and their representatives cannot accept responsibility for any act or omission arising from consulting the information contained herein.
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