The Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 2002 as amended (ECTA) allows for the admission of documents which is of electronic origin on the same basis as documentary evidence.

The courts are facing an increase of evidence produced which is of an electronic nature. This includes communication  such as emails/ whatsapp messages/ social media communications albeit Facebook/ Instagram.

Email is the preferred mode of communication as it is instantaneous. According to Grobler, it is often the attachments to emails, which is simply printed out as proof that is becoming increasing sources of litigation.Very often information regarding delivery or creation is wrongfully accepted at face value. Metadata must therefore be carefully interpreted and date and time settings carefully scrutinised in order to determine authenticity and related information.

A set of interesting articles on the topic is available at: https://www.tech4law.co.za/tech-advisor/107-digital-forensics/2638-the-risk-of-accepting-printed-documents-and-emails-by-mere-production and https://www.tech4law.co.za/tech-advisor/107-digital-forensics/2651-part-2-metadata-to-consider-when-handing-in-electronically-sourced-exhibits