Employment in South Africa
Bowmans is 'the best', according to one client, thanks to a number of outstanding practitioners, including Graham Damant, Chris Todd, Karen Fulton and Robin Carr. The team is praised for its 'expertise, practicality and responsiveness'. It represented Royal Bafokeng Platinum Mine in an employee transfer dispute with the contract miner. Talita Laubscher is 'exceptionally practical, exceptionally responsive and goes above and beyond for her clients'.
ENSafrica has a sizeable team that is increasingly engaged in Africa-wide matters for multinational clients and 'has tireless enthusiasm for being great business partners with in-house counsel'. The firm has made a further impression in restructurings, retrenchment exercises, business rescue situations and compliance issues. Brian Patterson, who 'is totally reliable and always delivers', Stuart Harrison, Peter le Roux and Ross Alcock are all highly reputed, while Dion Masher is 'a very good advocate'. St Elmo Wilken is 'a great external partner' and 'a great relationship builder'. Fritz Malan is 'an extremely skilled litigator', who 'knows when to push and when not to'; he recently advised Anglo American Platinum on the dismissal of a large number of individuals who were accused of stealing platinum concentrate. Associate Jan Norval is also noted.
Webber Wentzel remains noted for mining sector employment issues, including retrenchment exercises, strikes and labour relations. A team led by senior figure Johan Olivier advised Harmony Gold Mining Company on the design and implementation of a company-wide employee relations framework policy. Nick Robb, whose 'gravitas and personality really counts in litigation', Eugene Phajane and Pamela Stein are also key names. The team's 'extremely capable professionals' are praised for their 'innovation and problem-solving' abilities. Lizle Louw has joined with a team from ENSafrica. Senior associates Jessica Braum and Nivaani Moodley are also noted.
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr continues to impress in retrenchment exercises and disputes involving the use of labour brokers. Up to some 20% of the practice focuses on the public sector with the remainder on financial services, mining, road freight and other private sector enterprises. The firm advised the City of Cape Town on an alleged fraud perpetrated against it by employees of services providers involved in the city’s transport system. Hugo Pienaar is a leading figure in the road freight industry, while Aadil Patel and Fiona Leppan have exceptional experience in the mining industry, especially in relation to union activities.
FASKEN has a fully-rounded employment practice and has an usually high degree of advocacy experience within the team. It leads the way in a range of sub-sectors, including employee benefits, pensions, health and safety, strikes and restraint of trade. The 'professional', 'warm and friendly' department 'collaborates well' with clients. Team leader Paul Fouche is noted for employment and health and safety matters, as well as his 'humility and experience', 'knowledge' and 'ability to simplify complex matters'. He represented Zizwe Opencast Mining in retrenchments disputes with the National Union of Mineworkers. Ludwig Frahm-Arp is a prominent name with an excellent record in litigation and advocacy. Leading pensions specialist Rosemary Hunter is 'dedicated', 'frank, yet sensitive and diplomatic' and 'is able to read the room and the team dynamics'.
Hogan Lovells (South Africa)'s highly reputable practice has developed its status in employment litigation, and cross-border and multi-jurisdictional matters across Africa. The Johannesburg team is leveraging its strong black economic empowerment credentials and connections with overseas offices to broaden its client base in South Africa and beyond. It remains noted for its expertise in collective bargaining arrangements, redundancy exercises and strikes. It advised Medal Paint Manufacturers on employment issues following the dismissal of 65 employees and a five-month protected strike. Imraan Mahomed has an outstanding reputation.
Norton Rose Fulbright has an impressive mix of parastatal and private sector work with a fine record in mainstream employment issues such as transfers and mergers, retrenchments, restructurings and executive dismissals. Murray Alexander leads the team, which includes Mohammed Chavoos and Karen Ainslie. Former department head Hermann Nieuwoudt has joined the bar.
Werksmans Attorneys has taken further market share with growth in equal pay litigation, redundancies and retrenchments. The pharmaceutical industry is a growth sector, while it maintains a strong standing in parastatal work thanks to the presence of Sandile July and others. It represented Adcock Ingram Healthcare and Adcock Ingram Critical Care in several equal pay for equal work disputes. Cape Town-based Jacques van Wyk is also recommended.