The country’s Master’s offices were only able to resume processing inheritances from 15 November last year, when a new finger-print verification server was restored, says Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola.
He was responding to a question from Glynnis Breytenbach, the DA’s spokesperson for justice and constitutional development. Breytenbach asked the minister what steps his department would take to attend to the backlog of matters at the Master’s offices, which had been exacerbated by a ransomware attack on the department’s IT system in September.
Responding last month, Lamola said officials were “working tirelessly” to catch up on the backlog, and the new fingerprint verification had been deployed at six offices. “The further roll-out is currently a priority and should be restored to all Master’s offices soon.”
Overtime had been approved for all Master’s offices to 20 December 2021, whereafter the situation would be assessed.
He said the Offices were still experiencing some technical difficulties from time to time.
Answering the minister, Breytenbach said: “The situation at the Master’s offices around the country, perhaps with very few exceptions, is intolerable. The backlog is never reduced; it just continues to grow.”
She said she and her colleagues received hundreds of complaints and requests for assistance, and the entire department was in dire need of a serious shake-up.