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Press release: FISA expresses concern about lack of communication from the Department of Justice

FISA issued the following media release after media reports appeared that Ms Tessie Bezuidenhout, Chief Director in the office of the Chief Master, and another senior official, Ms Christine Rossouw, have been suspended pending enquiries into irregularities:

FISA expresses concern about lack of communication from the Department of Justice

The Fiduciary Institute of Southern Africa (FISA) is concerned about the lack of timeous communication with stakeholders from the Department of Justice, regarding the alleged suspension of two senior officials in the office of the Chief Master of the High Court.

FISA CEO Louis van Vuren said: “Last week we enquired in a spirit of goodwill and cooperation about a rumour we had heard in this regard. Our aim with the approach was to assist in communicating to our members to refrain from escalating service issues to the individuals involved.  We were informed that the Department does not respond to rumours but that the Public Education and Communication Unit in the Department would communicate at the appropriate time. We are therefore exceedingly disappointed to see that the media have reported in more detail on the matter before stakeholders were informed.”

FISA aims to maintain a good working relationship with the Master’s Offices around the country, to the mutual benefit of its fiduciary practitioner members and their clients, as well as the Master’s Offices. While some Master’s Offices are functioning smoothly, there are significant backlogs at others, leading to long delays in the winding up of estates and matters dealing with trusts.

Mr van Vuren said that Covid-19 had adversely affected many offices which had had to close for decontamination but that it was essential that backlogs be addressed. FISA will continue to support and offer its assistance to the Master’s Offices in an attempt to smooth processes in the public interest.