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Hogan Lovells (South Africa) is recognised for its capabilities in both front-end and back-end work, thanks in no small part to the presence of market leader Clive Rumsey. The employer-oriented team has seen particular growth in front-end work, particularly in the mining industry, and a rise in sub-Saharan Africa engagements. Clients include Bombela, Worley Parsons, Eskom, Anglo American and Fluor. Philip van Rensburg is also recommended.

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc provides an ‘excellent and solid service’ for disputes, including insurance-related cases, and construction linked to renewable energy and conventional energy projects. The team is increasingly active in cross-border work into the wider continent. The group represented Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Africa in disputes with its main sub-contractor for the construction of the Kusile and Medupi Power Stations. Tony Chappel is a ‘good litigator’ and Durban’s Gary Rademeyer and Daniel McConnell are noted for both front-end and back-end matters.

Pinsent Masons LLP has assembled a market leading team led by the pre-eminent Rob Morson. Working as part of a global group, the Johannesburg team has outstanding knowledge of construction contracts including FIDIC, NEC and JBCC. It advised ABB South Africa on the execution of the control and instrumentation works package at the Kusile Power Station. Deirdré Simaan and Daniella Zussa have excellent credentials in front-end work and Shane Voigt and Junaid Banoobhai are leaders in disputes.

Webber Wentzel continues to impress in front-end work in sub-Saharan Africa. The practice is particularly close to developers and lenders and advised Dankocom as the EPC contractor on the Ilangalethu 100MW solar power project in Upington, Northern Cape. The ‘practical’ team ‘has a strong understanding of construction and operations contracts’. Disputes specialist Priyesh Daya ‘has a level head’, is ‘great to work with’ and ‘does not over-lawyer the file’. Robert Appelbaum and Megan Jarvis are recommended for front-end work. Senior names Andrew van Niekerk and Deirdré Simaan have joined Bowmans and Pinsent Masons LLP respectively

Bowmans is rebuilding following a series of senior-level departures. Andrew van Niekerk, who is ‘an excellent guy in front-end work’ and ‘knows his way around FIDIC’, and Spencer Naicker joined from Webber Wentzel. The reinvigorated team advised Intex Construction on a significant road project in Kenya and continues to advise Eskom on the development of the Medupi and Kusile power stations. Tumisang Mongae is ‘fabulous’ at state work and a ‘great young construction lawyer’, while Lloyd Chater is ‘pragmatic and solution driven’ and a ‘very good transactional lawyer’.

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr remains a leader in non-contentious work, thanks in part to the presence of Jurg van Dyk, who is ‘a great front-end lawyer’, ‘understands construction’, ‘has knowledge across the various standard forms’ and is ‘smart with great judgement’. He led the team that advised New Southern Energy on the construction of a 660MW coal-fired power plant in Zimbabwe. Joe Whittle is a ‘very good practitioner’ and impresses in litigation along with Timothy Baker. Disputes specialist Jonathan Ripley-Evans has joined Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP.

Clyde & Co LLP has ‘a good contentious offering’ including the insurance aspects of construction. The team focuses on international contractors, including a growing number of Korean contractors. It is increasingly active in matters north of South Africa and advised MDM Engineering Projects on a contractual dispute with Africa Courier Express relating to the Bulyanhulu Project in Tanzania. Front-end specialist Lisa Baird has joined as a consultant from Excappa Consulting Services. Rob Scott and Alon Meyerov are prominent names.

ENSafrica is close to a range of employers, lenders and large sub-contractors and is making inroads into sub-Saharan Africa projects. Loren Tibshraeny led the construction team that advised Anglo American on the coal and water supply agreements for the Khanyisa Power Plant. Armando Aguiar remains one of the top contentious specialists in the jurisdiction. Nikita Lalla has joined Dentons.

Fasken is recommended for contentious matters, frequently acting for big contractors such as Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Africa and Alstom S&E Africa. The firm is also prominent in front-end renewable energy construction work. Simon Pratt is ‘cost effective’ and ‘pragmatic’ in contentious matters, while Tania Siciliano and Nic Roodt are also highly regarded.

Werksmans Attorneys is noted primarily for contentious work and the team is commended for its ‘tactical astuteness’ and ‘awareness of the commercial realities of the world’; it frequently advises major contractors and heavy engineering companies in sub-Saharan Africa engagements. The team represented WorleyParsons South Africa in a dispute with Group 5 concerning the Kpone Independent Power Project in Ghana. Jason Smit is ‘a safe pair of hands’.

Baker McKenzie Johannesburg lost big name Gerhard Rudolph to Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP in 2017, but retains a core team featuring disputes specialist Sonia de Vries.

Dentons hired Nikita Lalla from ENSafrica to build a team with notable front-end FIDIC and NEC expertise. Lalla has ‘in depth industry knowledge’, ‘is always well prepared’ and is ‘definitely one of the best in the construction industry’. The team advised the EPC contractor on the construction of a 300MW power generation plant in Mpumalanga.

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