South African car dealerships have been given the green light from Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel, to resume business under the easing of lockdown restrictions but will need to implement a range of new directives to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection across the entire automotive value chain.
Among these is the use of electronic or virtual signatures for finance and insurance documents. Personal contact is to be kept to a minimum and the majority of interactions will need to be conducted remotely via eCommerce or telephone.
Auto dealers will thus be looking for secure platforms to facilitate transactions over this period.
“The hassle of physically signing a document should be a thing of the past and there are technology platforms that can enable business to continue even under these trying circumstances,” says Ewald Scheepers, Divisional Executive for LexisNexis South Africa’s Business Software Solutions division.
Standard transactions that can benefit from electronic processing include consumer agreements, bank loans, insurance documentation, signoff of financial statements, rental agreements, any acceptance of terms and conditions, consent forms and more.
Scheepers says, “Electronic documents and e-signatures are the answer to navigating similar transactional challenges during this unprecedented time, using advanced software that provides total security, document integrity and indisputable authenticity. However, without necessarily having face to face contact, there still needs to be scrutiny to ensure that the correct person has affixed their electronic signature,” he said.
In South Africa, the Electronic Communications and Transactions (ECT) Act Chapter 3 part 1 gives legal recognition to electronic documents and recognises that electronic documents and signatures can serve as the electronic functional equivalent of their paper-based counterparts.
Although the ECT Act does not prescribe what type of technology must be used, examples of electronic signatures include: signing with signature tablets used in banks and other retailers and the so-called digital signature, among others.
The ECT Act also creates a special type of electronic signature, known as an “advanced electronic signature” (AES), which is a particularly reliable form of signature. Where a law (such as the Deeds Registries Act) requires a signature, only an AES will be valid. The use of an AES by conveyancer is a legal requirement for the Power of Attorney to Transfer Property.
Addressing the global move towards digital signatures, LexisNexis South Africa has developed one of the first digital signature platforms in the country. The Lexis Sign platform brings international standard digital signatures for local and international use but built on the foundations of the South African legislation, all underpinned by the ECT Act.
The Lexis Sign platform allows users to upload any PDF document to be signed and eliminates the need to print, sign, scan and email through a simple, secure entirely web-based platform that does not require additional hardware or devices. It is mobile, simple and speedy, enabling documents to be signed anywhere, any time and on any device.
An added feature specifically suited to the national lockdown and post-lockdown period is LexisNexis’s creation of a COVID-19 Template Screen solution within Lexis Sign, that can be used at no extra cost. This facilitates an Electronically Signed Visitor Screening that enables organisations to screen visitors prior to their arrival at the company’s premises. It also keeps an electronic register of all completed screening forms for future reference.
For further information on Lexis Sign and to request an extended 60-day free trial now available in further support of business and the economy, visit www.lexissign.co.za