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Judiciary: Courts still in disarray after 'hack attack'

A broken IT system has caused havoc at Magistrate's Courts and Master’s Offices across the country. The Department of Justice in September claimed it had suffered a ransomware attack. However, the nature and extent of the attack is also not yet fully known and Magistrate's Courts and the Master’s Offices are still in disarray. In addition, state attorneys still cannot access their e-mail – with many using their private accounts. An unidentified lawyer reportedly told The Citizen that the IT system went offline, not because of a ransomware attack, but because the department failed to pay its service providers. And an attorney said some magistrates have proactively handled the situation by delivering handwritten judgments and court orders. However, most have postponed cases because they cannot access their laptops. ‘This is particularly bad in cases which concern children because urgent disputes involving maintenance and the rights of divorced parents to access their children are simply postponed which negatively affects the psychological wellbeing of both parents and children,’ she added.

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