Michael Mossop (86), father of Judge Rob Mossop, has been forced to appear in the KZN High Court (Durban) to prove that he was alive – in spite of Home Affairs having declared him dead.

According to a Daily Dispatch report, Michael believes he was the victim of fraudsters who – on the back of a death certificate issued in June – secured a letter of executorship from the Masters Office in Pretoria and were attempting to plunder his estate.

To prove that he was, indeed, alive and well, Michael posed with a proof of life photograph, with the front page of a local newspaper, and attended court proceedings in his urgent application which came before KZN High Court (Durban) Acting Judge Jabu Thobela-Mkhulisi.

‘I am very much alive and healthy,’ Michael said in his affidavit.

He said he lived with his wife in Glen Anil, and they were both pensioners.

The first sign of trouble came when Rob received a call from an investment company this month, wanting confirmation Michael was dead.

‘My son, deeply shocked, advised that I was not dead. He asked why the company believed this to be the case and was told that the Department of Home Affairs had notified him Michael had died,’ Michael said.

However, three days later Michael received an email from his medical aid company, advising that he and his wife’s medical aid had been terminated.

‘This came as an absolute shock to me but initially I assumed that it was an administrative error,’ Michael said.

He added one of his relatives did a search on the Master’s Office computer portal. The records showed Michael was dead and his estate had been reported to the Master’s Office in Pretoria.

According to documents attached to the application, a letter of executorship had been issued in July appointing a ‘Brian Gordon Pearson, assisted by AJ Masingi Attorneys’ to handle the estate.

The Masters Office, Michael said, had been very proactive in assisting him, and had sent an email to Pearson and the attorneys calling on them to return the letter of executorship ‘which had clearly been issued on the basis of fraud’.

But, he said, there was a high probability that it would not be returned.

The Daily Dispatch adds Thobela-Mkhulisi granted an order declaring Michael to be alive, and directed the Home Affairs Minister and DG of the department to immediately amend their records to reflect the truth.

Should they wish to oppose, they have until 6 October 2023 to do so.

Full Daily Dispatch report