Save your SMSes

In the case of Jafta v Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife emailed an offer of employment as HR manager to Jafta. While trying to send an email accepting the offer (and in true IT style) Jafta’s laptop malfunctioned. With the time limit on the offer looming, Jafta went to an internet café and sent an email acceptance from his G-mail account.

Unbeknown to Jafta, he was thwarted by a glitch in the internet and his email vanished in cyberspace.

Having not heard from Jafta, the outgoing HR manager of Wildlife sent him an SMS urging him to respond. Jafta replied that he had done so by email earlier that day and that he had accepted the offer.

The wildlife employee who received the SMS assumed the email had been successfully sent and received and left the company.

Having supposedly not heard from Jafta, Wildlife employed the next suitable candidate. Jafta took the company to court and won.

The court ruled that an SMS is a data message and falls within the definition of an electronic communication. As such it is a valid and effective means of concluding a contract.

The court ruled that the fact that a message or document is digital and not hard copy does not detract from its legal weight.

This means that digital methods of communication are legally on par with their paper counterparts.

It is essential that organisations keep track of all digital communication. Records of e-mails and SMSs must be kept so that they can be referred to should the need arise.

Bongani Homela and Daniel McConnell are attorneys at Deneys Reitz

An actual Black Friday deal

Subscribe for R2/mth for the first three months. Cancel anytime.

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

Impala Platinum re-enters Royal Bafokeng Platinum buyout bid

The announcement comes just weeks after competitor Northam inked a deal to acquire up to 33.3% of Royal Bafokeng Platinum

Brakes put on foreign truck drivers

New legislation aims to protect local jobs in the transport sector amid questions as to whether SA has enough willing and skilled drivers

SANParks shifts to solar and spekboom

Solar-generated pumps are pumping larger volumes of water for wildlife than diesel used to, and spekboom is helping offset carbon emissions

Mandatory vaccination on cards as Ramaphosa keeps South Africa on...

Ramaphosa calls out world leaders for irrational travel bans as scientists gather evidence on new Omicron variant

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…