I think the issue of authentication of documents being required in respect of documents executed outside of the Republic has more to do with the rules of evidence than anything else. Any document is only prime facie proof of what it purports to be, but when the signatory to such document is in RSA, he/she can be called upon relatively easily to verify his/her signature on the document. Not so easy when such signatory is outside of RSA.
However this begs the question then about foreigners who sign documents in RSA and then hop on a plane and disappear overseas. Instead of relaxing the rule, I think it should be strengthened to the effect that anyone not ordinarily resident in RSA (perhaps a permanent residency permit can be the minimum criteria, if the signatory is not a citizen) and wishing to bind him/herself contractually in RSA must have his identity and signature authenticated by a Notary Public (for a fee of course!)
As a Notary Public I have noticed a considerable swing in the last year or so towards tender documents and many other kinds of official documents requiring Notarial authentication, and I think the legal profession should protect the high status of Notarial authentication of documents.
Kevin Schaafsma Attorneys