One of the objects of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, Act 25 of 2002
(the ECT Act), is to enable and facilitate electronic communications and transactions for
purposes of promoting legal certainty. It is submitted that Section 15 (4) of the ECT Act has in
contrast, created more legal uncertainty. Section 15 (4) of the ECT Act, seeks to admit data
messages into evidence on its mere production in any legal proceedings and attaches an
evidential weight to such data messages, namely that it constitutes rebuttable proof of the
facts contained therein. This study focuses on the interpretation of both the admissibility and
evidential weight attached to data messages within the specific context of section 15 (4) of the
ECT Act. A literature study will be undertaken and it is concluded that section 15 (4) of the
ECT Act, as it stands, is a departure from the Model Law on which the ECT Act is based and
has neither been effectively applied in our South African courts nor, in certain instances,
correctly interpreted. Therefore, the Parliamentary legislator needs to re-consider whether
section 15 ( 4) of the ECT Act serves a practical purpose.
Mini Dissertation (LLM)--University of Pretoria, 2016.