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Statement by the Minister of Jusice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, on the implementation of the COVID-19 Disaster Management Regulations during a media briefing

20 March 2020


General access to Master’s offices

In terms of the DMA and regulations no gatherings of more than 100 people shall be allowed.  For this reason each office, depending on their capacity, will determine the number of public granted access to the office/building but shall not exceed 100.  This is to ensure the well-being and safety of both the officials and the public.

Meeting of creditors

All meetings of creditors and/or interrogations will all be cancelled and up until 15 April 2020.  Thereafter new protocols will be issued on how, by whom and where such meetings are to be convened. In respect of all other meetings that have already been convened and postponed those meetings should be further postponed by way of e-mail communication until such time as further protocols have been put on place.

Reporting of Deceased Estates

For all new matters where there are any disputes, family meetings will not be convened until 15 April 2020. Thereafter new protocols will be issued on how, by whom and where such meetings are to be convened.

In matters where an appointment has already been made and a dispute arises between family members, such meetings will be postponed up until 15 April 2020.  Thereafter new protocols will be issued on how, by whom and where such meetings are to be convened.

In all new matters where there are no disputes, only the nominated representatives shall be allowed access to the office to report the estate.

Accept electronic documents

The following documents may be submitted electronically for the interim if it is accompanied by an affidavit confirming the correctness thereof, it is authenticated and that originals will be lodged when called so by the Master:

Bonds of security;

Requisitions in respect of insolvencies;

All hand delivered post to be placed in the postal boxes of each office this will include requests for applications for copies.  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. 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 place will reside with each head of office.

Issuing of appointment letters shall be managed on the following basis:

To e-mail letters of appointment to Agents and place originals in the respective pigeon holes in the offices for collection

Where appointees do not have access to email, such letters shall be made available at the offices for collection:

a)    Only urgent walk-in clients to be assisted with appointment letters, including Guardian’s Fund clients that need physically to be confirmed by way of MOVIT.
b)    In all other matters only clients to be seen that have made an appointment and in the discretion of the respective official.
c)   Queries by the public or stakeholders encouraged to communicate by e-mail and followed up telephonically if necessary within 7 working days.   (To ensure this is a viable option, the Acting Chief Mater directs that officials should as far as possible be office bound. Any complaint regarding non-responsiveness to e-mails or calls without valid reason, will result in disciplinary steps).
d)    Limit access to the building on an urgency basis in line with current guidelines issues by the President.

Court Access:

In terms of the court directives issued by the Chief Justice the courts are now restricted to Persons with material interests in a case, such litigants, accused, witnesses those who may be needed to provided support such as those accompanying children, victims of domestic violence and / or sexual abuse, elderly and people with disabilities, family members, representative of special interests or support groups and members of the media will be permitted to enter the court precinct.

Non-essential visitors will only be allowed into the court precinct with the permission of the Head of Court.

I would like to thank all the Legal practitioners who have contacted my office and have heeded the call of Thuma Mina.

Issued by the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services                
Mr Chrispin Phiri
Spokesperson: Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services
081 781 2261