To determine if the mistake was reasonable the SCA considered whether Slipknot was culpable in the mistake. Here it relied on Du Toit’s submission that Slipknot was blameless as the misrepresentation as to the nature of the document came from his brother and his nephew. The SCA then considered if there was a duty on Slipknot to inform Du Toit of the terms relating to the suretyship terms and found that “even a cursory glance” at the documents would have alerted Du Toit that he was signing a suretyship. The SCA also considered the submission that Du Toit was a farmer and found it irrelevant as he was a trustee with trusts of his own and that Slipknot was entitled to rely on his signature as a surety just as it was entitled to rely in his signature as a trustee.
The SCA therefore found that Du Toit’s mistake was not reasonable and there was no basis to suggest that Slipknot knew or ought, as a reasonable person, to have known Du Toit’s mistake.
The message here is clear and simple: read what you sign.