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How To Become a Commissioner of Oaths in South Africa

Are you a South an Citizen who’s passionate about becoming a Commissioner of Oath? This article will walk you through the process of becoming one.

How To Become a Commissioner of Oaths in South Africa
Explore the process of becoming a Commissioner of Oaths in South Africa via this article

Becoming a Commissioner of Oaths in South Africa involves a straightforward process, but it’s crucial to follow the specific steps outlined by the authorities. This role is significant as Commissioners of Oaths play a vital role in legalizing and verifying documents.

Who is a Commissioner of Oaths?

A Commissioner of Oaths [2], also known as Peace Commissioner, is a person with the authority to administer an oath and witness your signature on documents such as affidavits, financial statements and statutory declarations.

The Commissioner of Oaths places their stamp on the signature page, which usually includes the expiry of their appointment as a Commissioner of Oaths.

According to Tuckers Attorney [3], based on South African law, a Commissioner of Oaths is appointed by the Minister of Justice, or by any officer of the Department of Justice with the rank of director authorized in writing to do so.

It is important to note that Lawyers are Attorneys, bank managers, marriage officers and police officers are, by the nature of the position they hold, Commissioners of Oaths.

Normally, Commissioners of Oaths are required by law not to charge for administering oaths or taking declarations or affirmations. However, it is not illegal to charge a fee to administer an oath or an affidavit, or to have certified copies of those documents.

Steps To Become a Commissioner of Oaths in South Africa

Becoming a commissioner of oaths is a great way to get involved in the legal profession. Interestingly, you do not necessarily need to have a career in law before towing this path because it requires little training with many career benefits. Although this is not a very common career for non-legal practitioners, if you desire to become a Commissioner of Oats in South Africa, this article contains essential steps you can follow to achieve that:

1. Identify the Appropriate Authorities

First step is to ascertain which authorities in South Africa are responsible for appointing Commissioners of Oaths. In most cases, this responsibility falls under the Department of Justice and Constitutional Developmentv [1].

2. Understand the Role of a Commissioner of Oaths

Role of a Commissioner of Oaths

A Commissioner of Oaths is an individual authorized to verify affidavits, statutory declarations, and other legal documents. This role is crucial in ensuring the authenticity of various statements and affirmations made by individuals in legal matters. Commissioners of Oaths are often appointed from among practicing legal professionals or individuals with certain qualifications recognized by the law.

Before making a move to become a commissioner of oaths, it is important to understand what the role entails.

3. Check Basic Eligibility Requirements for Commissioner of Oaths

The Commissioner of Oaths is not a role for just anybody in South Africa. Hence, before embarking on the journey to become a Commissioner of Oaths, it’s important to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria set by the relevant authorities. 

To be eligible, you typically need to meet the following criteria:

  • You must be at least 18 years old, which is the voting age.
  • You must also be a citizen of South Africa.
  • You have to be devoid of criminal record or any form of mental issues.
  • You must have a high school diploma or GED.

4. Fill in the Appropriate Forms

An application to become a Commissioner of Oaths can be made to the local Magistrate’s Court. This form is typically available on the website of the relevant authorities. However, it is not enough to apply. Consideration is given, amongst other factors, to the number of Commissioners of Oaths in the area as well as the position you have held and/or is holding at the time of application.

5. Gather Supporting Documents

Collect all required supporting documents, which may include proof of identity, proof of citizenship or residency, and any relevant qualifications or certifications. Once this is done, submit your completed application form along with the necessary supporting documents to the designated authority. 

6. Wait for Approval

After submitting your application, be patient and wait for the authorities to process and approve your appointment. This may take some time, so it’s important to plan accordingly.

7. Receive Appointment Certificate from Department of Justice

Once your application is approved, you will receive an appointment certificate. This certificate officially authorizes you to act as a Commissioner of Oaths.

Keep track of the expiration date of your appointment as a Commissioner of Oaths. In South Africa, appointments are typically valid for a specific period, after which they may need to be renewed.


Becoming a Commissioner of Oaths in South Africa involves a structured process governed by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. By meeting the eligibility criteria, completing the necessary steps, and understanding your responsibilities, you can play a vital role in legalizing and verifying important documents within the legal framework of South Africa.


[1] Justice and constitutional development [ department of ]. (n.d.). Gov.Za. https://www.gov.za/about-government/contact-directory/departments/departments/justice-and-constitutional-development

[2] Law, S. B. S. (2020, September 2). What is a Commissioner of Oaths and a Notary? Step By Step Law Corporation. https://www.stepbysteplaw.com/commissioner-of-oaths-notary/

[3] TuckersAttorneys. (2022, March 21). Does your document require a Commissioner of Oaths or a Notary Public? Tuckers Attorneys; Tuckers Incorporated. https://tuckers.co.za/2022/03/does-your-document-require-a-commissioner-of-oaths-or-notary-public/

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