Master’s office

2008-01-19 00:00

The office of the Master of the Supreme Court has important interactions with the public with regard to such matters as deceased and insolvent estates, the registration of trusts, and the guardianship of minors and mentally challenged persons.

In the past week, staff shortages in both Pietermaritzburg and Durban have disrupted work so badly that local lawyers have had to step in to keep essential services running. The crisis has apparently been precipitated by the decision by the national Department of Justice to terminate all temporary contracts at the end of last year before putting permanent employees in place. When it is known that a particular vacancy is to be created at a particular date, surely it is plain common sense to establish the post, advertise it and make an appointment in time for a seamless transition? Surely too there were many among the temporary employees who were well qualified to continue what they were already doing in a permanent capacity. Now, presumably, they are out of work, while the office can’t function properly. In creating this lose-lose situation, the national department has displayed an astonishing lack of foresight.

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