- The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development is investigating three of its officials on allegations of bribery.
- The officials are employed at the offices of the Master of the High Court in Pretoria.
- They allegedly sought R800 from a bereaved member of the public in exchange for releasing a free document.
The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development is investigating three of its officials at the offices of the Master of the High Court in Pretoria for allegedly demanding a bribe from a member of the public.
According to department spokesperson Chrispin Phiri, the incident was reported to the South African Police Service (SAPS) following a tipoff by a member of the public on Tuesday.
"This will set in motion a criminal investigation into three officials who are alleged to have solicited a bribe from a member of the public who approached the office for assistance in the issuing of a Letter of Authority."
A Letter of Authority is a document issued by the Master of the High Court regarding the executorship of property, Phiri explained.
"The document dictates the terms of passing the estate of a deceased person to the right executor. This way, a letter of executorship is issued to the rightful executor, who thereby continues to manage the deceased's estate. To acquire a Letter of Executorship and a Letter of Authority, one must report the death of a deceased person to the Master of the High Court within 14 days."
According to TimesLIVE, the officials were caught red-handed after accepting R800 from a bereaved person in exchange for a Letter of Authority.
All services free of charge
"The public is reminded that the services of the Master of the High Court are provided free of charge," Phiri said on Wednesday.
"In this regard, we wish to emphasise that there are no circumstances that require a member of the public to exchange cash with a member of staff at the offices of the Master. The public is encouraged to report incidents of corruption to the National Anti-Corruption Hotline on 0800 701 701."
According to TimesLIVE, EFF councillor Terry Maboa said he took it upon himself to organise a sting operation after receiving complaints about alleged corruption at the offices.
- Compiled by Riaan Grobler