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Access to and services by Master’s Offices

The Acting Chief Master issued new protocols about services rendered by the Master’s Offices under Level 3 of the lockdown, access to the offices, and the process to submit documentation. Click here for the document.  Below are some extracts from the document.

Below are some extracts from the document.

The Master’s Offices will render the following services:

A.       SERVICES OF THE OFFICES OF THE MASTER OF THE HIGH COURT

1.         Reporting and issuing of appointments in all deceased estates matters.
2.         Reporting and issuing of appointments in all Insolvency matters.
3.         Lodgement of requisitions by way of e-mail.
4.         Examination of L&D accounts in all deceased estates matters.
5.         Examination of L&D accounts in all insolvency matters lodged.
6.         Reporting and issuing of appointments in all Trust matters lodged.
7.         Reporting and issuing of appointments all curatorship matters.
8.         Receiving of applications and payments of funds from the Guardian’s fund.
9.         Examination of accounts in Curatorship matters lodged.
10.      Dealing with all correspondence received by e-mail.”

General arrangements with regard to access to the offices and other process matters are the following:

4.7    GENERAL
a)        All hand delivered post to be placed in the postal boxes of each office this include requests for applications for copies.
i.          Postal boxes to be placed at the main entrances of the buildings so as to limit the access to the building, wherein original documents can be deposited. Offices can, for ease of administration and minimise the handling of documents, allocate a separate box for each section in the office, but must ensure that it is clearly marked accordingly.
ii.         A register shall be placed next to each box where lodgement of documents shall be recorded. These boxes to be opened every 12 hours, as the virus only survive on paper for 5 – 11 hours. The decision on the number of boxes to be placed will reside with each HOD.
iii.        When documents are delivered by courier, the recipient will sanitise the bag containing the documents prior to opening it. This should not damage the documents contained inside the bag.
b)        Only one person per matter will be allowed into the office to report, lodge or collect a matter / documents, unless otherwise agreed upon (in exceptional circumstances and with good reason) by the relevant Master’s Official or Security Officials monitoring entry.
c)         In all other matters only clients will be seen who have made an appointment and in the discretion of the respective official.
d)        As per instruction by the Acting Director General, during level 3, all officials who have been allocated their own offices will return to work normal office hours.  All other officials will also return to work, but will be working in staggered hours and/or on rotation to ensure that social distancing requirements and Par 46 (2) of the Regulation no 608 can be complied with.
It is the responsibility of every Head of Office to ensure that his/her office minimises congestion, complies to social distancing prescripts and to implement staggered hours or a rotational roster to ensure that all staff perform equal duties, taking into regard any special measures for employees above the age of 60 as well as employees with known or disclosed health issues or comorbidities or any known condition which may place them at higher risk for complication or death if infected with COVID-19.  It is the prerogative of the Head of Office to request any such employee to provide proof of his/her condition, if necessary.
e)        Queries by the public or stakeholders encouraged to communicate by e-mall and followed up telephonically if necessary, within 14 working days. (To ensure this is a viable option, the Acting Chief Master directs that officials should as far as possible be office bound.  Any complaint regarding non-responsiveness to e-mails or calls without valid reason, may result in disciplinary steps.)
f)          Offices should note that all auxiliary services and duties with regards to the services which will be provided, as indicated in this document, is included in this protocol (e.g. dealing with correspondence, drawing and management of files, keeping of statistics, answering of telephones, completing of relevant registers, procurement, writing of court reports etc.).
g)        Limit access to the building on an urgency basis in line with current guidelines issues by the President, referred to in par 1.2 and 1.3 above.”

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