Construction in South Africa
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr has led the market in renewable energy front-end work and government-side construction disputes. It is now increasingly active in non-energy matters and engagements outside of South Africa. It advised New Southern Energy on the development and construction of a 660MW coal-fired power plant in Zimbabwe. The team has 'a very good composition of fields of know-how', 'a good understanding of commercial aspects' and 'a great readiness to help with short deadlines'. Jurg van Dyk is a front-end leader, Emma Dempster is recommended for solar-rooftop projects and Joe Whittle is a key name for construction disputes.
Hogan Lovells (South Africa) is prominent in contentious and non-contentious matters. It has a growing presence in other jurisdictions such as Zimbabwe and Mozambique and is noted for its mining sector client base. The highly reputed Clive Rumsey leads the team, which includes Gary Pritchard and Sasha Baker.
Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc has an exceptional record in front-end and disputes work; it is especially noted for renewable energy projects, including solar projects, and is now working on a range of front-end engagements around Africa. Gary Rademeyer has an outstanding reputation in front-end and disputes work, while Tony Chappel is experienced in construction disputes.
Pinsent Masons LLP has a formidable contentious and transactional practice. The Johannesburg team has broad horizons, picking up key engagements in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and other African jurisdictions. Clients are primarily developers, followed by lenders and contractors. It advised Sepchem Industries on the development of an Anhydrous Hydrogen Fluoride Plant and an Aluminium Fluoride Plant at Ekandustria, South Africa. Rob Morson is regarded as a leader in front-end construction matters in South Africa. Shane Voigt is a key name for contentious work, while Junaid Banoobhai and Deirdre Simaan are also recommended.
Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP
Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP established a formidable team with the hire of leading construction expert Gerhard Rudolph. Though primarily contentious-oriented, the department also has genuine documentation expertise. It represented Aveng Group against a syndicate of insurers in a dispute over the expansion of a mineral sands processing plant in Northern Mozambique. Kate Daniels and Michelle Porter-Wright are also recommended.
Bowmans has continued to develop its standing, following the departure of a senior team to Pinsent Masons LLP. New face Andrew van Niekerk is praised for his 'prompt reactions and feedback', 'knowledge of construction law' and is 'above the rest' according to one client. He and Lloyd Chater are rebuilding the firm's presence in contentious and transactional matters. The team advised Palabora Mining on the EPC and contractor mining contracts for the Brownfield Lift II copper mining expansion project. Spencer Naicker and Tumisang Mongae are also recommended.
Clyde & Co LLP
Clyde & Co LLP has a largely disputes-driven practice that has gained considerable traction with Korean contractors such as Daewoo Engineering & Construction and Doosan Heavy Industries. Much of the practice now centres on disputes across Africa. The firm is also noted for its expertise in insurance-related cases. It represented MDM Engineering Projects in a contractual dispute with Afri-Courier Express (in liquidation) connected to works associated with the Bulyanhulu Project in Tanzania. Alon Meyerov is the key partner. Rob Scott joined ENSafrica as a director in 2019.
ENSafrica is noted for both contentious and non-contentious work, with the firm achieving growth in representing employers and sub-contractors in disputes and advising on the construction aspects of coal-fired power stations and renewable energy projects in South Africa and across the continent; Ghana, Rwanda and Zimbabwe are key jurisdictions for the team. It advised Anglo American and a subsidiary on the coal and water supply agreements (including EPC contract and O&M agreement) for the Khanyisa Power Plant. Loren Tibshraeny leads on front-end construction and EPC documentation, while leading litigator and advocate Armando Aguiar has a construction disputes focus, including international arbitration proceedings. Director Rob Scott was a new arrival from Clyde & Co LLP in 2019.
FASKEN's large and stable team has a significant market share of big-ticket construction disputes in South Africa. It acts for a number of main and sub-contractors that operate in the jurisdiction. The firm also has notable non-contentious expertise among its project finance team; Blaize Vance and Ashen Jugoo are recognised for EPC document expertise. The team advised the lenders on the financing, construction, operation and maintenance of four projects undertaken by BioTherm Energy for round four of South Africa's renewable energy programme. Nic Roodt, Simon Pratt and Tania Siciliano are highly rated construction disputes specialists.
Webber Wentzel has fewer recognised senior-level construction specialists than some of its competitors, but it does have a solid mix of front-end and disputes expertise across the firm. Dispute resolution partner Priyesh Daya has a strong record in construction cases and represented Baker Hughes in a cross-border dispute with a contractor in Pemba, Mozambique. The firm also advised Dankocom, the EPC contractor, on the Ilangalethu 100MW concentrating solar power project located in Upington, Northern Cape. Megan Jarvis is noted for front-end and back-end work. Tyron Theessen is a recommended senior associate.
Werksmans Attorneys remains prominent in construction disputes with Jason Smit to the fore. He led the team that represented Life Healthcare Group in claims against the professional team and the contractor concerning the alleged negligent demolition of a load-bearing wall at the Flora Clinic facility. Des Williams is also a leader in construction arbitration and Deon Griessel is an experienced construction documentation expert.