Old computers, problems with accessing emails and poor network coverage have emerged as some of the reasons officials at the Master’s Office were unable to respond to queries from their clients.

Now, says a report in The Star, the Department of Justice has procured a new set of computers and wants to upgrade the network at offices throughout the country.

This became possible after the Law Society of SA (LSSA) turned to the Justice & Correctional Services Portfolio Committee, asking it to intervene in the long-standing service delivery failures in the Master’s Office.

It cited lack of leadership, lack of service delivery, correspondence being unanswered, email correspondence not being utilised, phones not being answered and officials not reached.

The LSSA has since tabled a 10-point plan to the department stressing the importance of improving communication.

In its bid to address problems at the Master’s Office, the Department of Justice said it had developed five pillars of intervention. These included fast-tracking modernisation and identification of the need to roll out a toll-free centre equipped with functionalities such as email, WhatsApp, SMS and reference number issuance.

The department said it had rolled out an online system for the registration of deceased estates.

The LSSA’s Hussani Goga said the fundamental issue was the platform for communication.

‘I don’t think this has been meaningfully addressed. If everything is said, it is meaningless. How do you communicate to the practitioners and the public? They should embrace emails immediately,’ he said.

Goga said there should be directives ordering officials at the Master’s Office to use emails.

It has since emerged that the computers at the Master’s Office were old and officials rarely used them because of poor network connection, among other reasons.

‘We have challenges with our email system. We are sorting that one. We are procuring computers. We have a target of three months,’ he said.

Full report in The Star