The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, (“the Apostille Convention”) is an international treaty drafted by the Hague Conference on Private International Law, which governs this process and the need for properly legalised documents.
The Apostille Convention specifies the requirements through which a document issued in one of the signatory countries (South Africa being one of them) can be certified for legal purposes and used in all other signatory countries. This certification is called apostilling.
An Apostille certificate simply means that your document that originates in South Africa has been authenticated or legalised by The Legalisation Section at the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (The Department of Foreign Affairs), which is in Pretoria, South Africa.
The Apostille does not give information on the content of the underlying document, rather it certifies the signature, capacity of the signatory and correctness of the seal or stamp on the document.