Rising Stars

Firms To Watch: Employment

At CMS South Africa, the employment and labour team acts for financial services, construction and media clients, to name a few industries, in a broad spectrum of non-contentious and contentious employment matters. Practice head Lucinda Hinxman is the key contact.

Employment in South Africa


Bowmans’ employment and benefits practice houses ‘an exceptional team of lawyers, with an unwavering commitment to excellence coupled with a pragmatic and strategic approach to solving complex issues‘. Led by Helen Wilsenach, the group routinely advises on a wide spectrum of contentious and non-contentious employment matters. Karen Fulton fields expertise in advising financial services sector entities on employment issues, and Jerry Kaapu is sought after for his experience in advising on collective bargaining and restructurings. Nadine Mather provides ‘practical, commercially sound advice on anything employment-related‘. Rosalind Davey advises on outsourcings and dismissal disputes, and Talita Laubscher handles discrimination claims. Graham Damant and Mbali Mnyandu are key names in the department.

Practice head(s):

Helen Wilsenach

Other key lawyers:

Jerry Kaapu; Karen Fulton; Nadine Mather; Rosalind Davey; Mbali Mnyandu; Graham Damant; Talita Laubscher


‘Bowmans has excellent expertise, experience, robustness and attention to detail. The team is highly diversified in terms of different aspects of employment and labour law.’

‘Karen Fulton, Rosalind Davey, and Mbali Mnyandu have been stellar in their work. Their ability to immediately provide assistance for complex matters is unique. Would always highly recommend these individuals and practice team.’

Nadine Mather is extremely knowledgeable and readily available to assist.’

‘They are a pragmatic team, providing practical advice.’

‘Nadine Mather has very keen commercial acumen and provides best-in-class legal advice.’

The team is diverse with a number of legal minds from various backgrounds which brings a wealth of experience and perspective to their advice.’

‘Graham Damant and Rosalind Davey have provided exceptional service. Their advice is always pragmatic.’

Key clients

Transnet Soc Ltd

Pick n Pay Retailers (Pty) Ltd

Standard Bank Limited


HCL Technologies Proprietary Limited

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

South African Local Bargaining Council and its parties (SALGA, SAMWU and IMATU)

University of Cape Town (UCT)



Foskor (Pty) Limited

SAB // Khumalo

Work highlights

  • Advising Transnet on investigations into allegations of impropriety and misconduct within a division of the company.
  • Advised HCL Technologies on the outsourcing/ transfer of key IT services across South Africa by Anglo American, a UK based diversified mining company, to HCL.
  • Defending the South African Local Bargaining Council and its parties before the High Court against a challenge to the validity of a collective agreement concluded in the bargaining council that restructured retirement fund arrangements in the local government sector, brought against the client by various pension funds.

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr’s employment team reports an uptick in matters involving allegations of discrimination, and has also been kept busy handling disputes relating to strike management, a key area of expertise for Hugo Pienaar. Department head Aadil Patel represents prominent private and public sector employers in a wide range of employment issues, and Fiona Leppan is highly regarded for acting for engineering, mining and metals, financial services and retail clients. Imraan Mahomed is very experienced in handling employment litigation, compliance and transactional work. Anli Bezuidenhout and Phetheni Nkuna are key figures in the practice. Faryn Nana joined the team in July 2023.

Practice head(s):

Aadil Patel

Other key lawyers:

Hugo Pienaar; Fiona Leppan; Imraan Mahomed; Anli Bezuidenhout; Phetheni Nkuna; Faryn Nana


‘Aadil Patel and Anli Bezuidenhoudt are exceptional to work with as they have the ability to translate what we need from legal language to corporate language; they understand the dynamics of the corporate client environment; and they go the extra mile to make you feel like you are a valued client.’

‘They are clear and pragmatic in their advice, and do not give fluffy “it depends” answers. They were also willing to go above and beyond to support us locally where we had no physical presence and provide hands-on support in a very difficult situation.’

Key clients

Arcelormittal South Africa



Kwa Zulu Natal Growth Fund Trust

University of Cape Town

Estee Lauder

Rustenburg Platinum Mines

National Lotteries Commission

Work highlights

  • Advised Arcelormittal, at the Essential Services Committee (ESC), on an investigation into whether the manufacture, production, supply and distribution of steel should be designated as an essential service.
  • Representing MultiChoice in ongoing contentious matters arising from the dismissal of employees who refused the Covid vaccination.
  • Advising Kwa Zulu Natal Growth Fund Trust in connection with an internal disciplinary hearing on behalf of the Trust regarding alleged misconduct perpetuated by a senior employee.


ENSafrica‘s employment law practice continues to act for prominent mining, retail, aviation and financial sector clients on a broad spectrum of matters. Dion Masher, who is the national head of the employment department, has a solid track record in handling work for public sector entities, and counts pension fund issues, collective bargaining, corporate restructurings, restraints of trade and industrial action matters as key areas of expertise. Brian Patterson specialises in compensation work, and Muzi Khoza is especially active in labour litigation. Fritz Malan is a key contact for sports-related employment issues, and Joe Mothibi  regularly acts for telecoms and technology clients. Balindile Shezi, Audrey Johnson, Stuart Harrison and Ross Alcock are key practitioners to note.

Practice head(s):

Dion Masher

Other key lawyers:

Brian Patterson; Stuart Harrison; Ross Alcock; Muzi Khoza; Fritz Malan; Balindile Shezi; Joe Mothibi; Audrey Johnson


‘Innovative practical solutions, available on demand, incredible knowledge of up to date cases. Most importantly, they know the client and give fair advice.’

‘Muzi Khoza is an exceptional partner who is well versed with industry players and naturally intuitive with labour law.’

‘Practical and business orientated solutions to client needs.’

‘Advice is very carefully researched. They are candid in providing advice, even if it is not necessarily what the client wants to hear.’

‘Brian Patterson is extremely knowledgeable in labour law and is very thorough in his advice. His advice is based on his many years of actual experience on labour law matters, not just case law.’

Key clients

Southern Sun Hotel Interests Proprietary Limited

Oceana Group Limited

Golden Arrow Bus Services (Pty) Ltd

Department of Home Affairs

Nutun Proprietary Limited

Deutsche Securities (Pty) Ltd

South African Institute of Chartered Accountants

South African Revenue Service

South African Airways SOC

Minerals Council South Africa

Work highlights

  • Represented Southern Sun in a dispute with trade union SACCAWU concerning a 5.5% salary increase granted to the union’s members, effective from April 2020; due to the COVID-19 pandemic the salary increase was not granted.
  • Advised the Oceana Group in relation to an investigation into wide-ranging allegations raised by senior employees with the client’s external auditors, who treated the employees as whistleblowers.
  • Advising Golden Arrow Bus Services on a multi-streamed strategy to address a significant wage disparity issue, developed over time due to wage rates based on seniority in place at the company and across-the-board increases imposed by collective agreements concluded in an industry bargaining council.

Webber Wentzel

The ‘very professional‘ team at Webber Wentzel ‘has extensive experience in labour matters‘, and stands out for its strength in advising fintech, mining and financial services sector clients on a spectrum of employment issues. Lizle Louw has a specialist focus on assisting clients from the mining industry with individual and collective labour law matters; she co-heads the department with Eugene Phajane, who is sought after for his strength in labour litigation and industrial relations disputes. Nivaani Moodley handles transfers of business and retrenchment matters, and Mehnaaz Bux  is well versed in advising on unfair dismissals and collective bargaining work. Siya Ngcamu is singled out for his contributions, and Johan Olivier and Nick Robb have excellent reputations for their longstanding expertise in the employment law space.

Practice head(s):

Lizle Louw; Eugene Phajane

Other key lawyers:

Nivaani Moodley; Mehnaaz Bux; Johan Olivier; Nick Robb; Siya Ngcamu


‘A diverse team that partners with the business to provide practical advice that takes account of the business’ operating context.’

‘Lizle Louw is reliable and solution orientated.’

‘Webber Wentzel team’s solution-focussed approach sets them apart from their competitors. ’

‘Lizle Louw deserves a special mention. She goes above and beyond to exceed clients’ expectations.’

‘The team is diverse, works collaboratively and understands the law very well.’

‘Lizle Louw provides an excellent service due to her experience in the mining and related fields. Always available and literally is prepared to “go the extra mile” to support.’

‘The team provides excellent service and expertise.’

‘Siya Ngcamu and Nivaani Moodley are friendly, approachable and professional.’

Key clients

Remgro Management, Mediclinic & Manta Bidco Limited

Aleph Holding

MultiChoice Group (MultiChoice)

Heineken International B.V. and Sunside Acquisitions Limited

Massmart Holdings Limited, Masstores Proprietary Limited and Massmart International Holdings Limited

Walmart Inc

Moove Vehicle Limited

Ster-Kinekor Proprietary Limited


SBV Services (Pty) Ltd

Ms Mofokeng (Individual)

Goldfields Group Services

Palabora Mining Company Proprietary Limited

Impala Platinum Limited

University of South Africa (UNISA)

Work highlights

  • Advised vehicle fintech company Moove on the employment aspects of its multi-jurisdictional organisational redesign.
  • Advised Heineken International B.V. on the employment aspects of its acquisition of South African wine and spirits maker Distell Group Holdings Limited, valued at ZAR 40.1 billion.
  • Acting as lead South African counsel to Aleph Holding on employment issues resulting from its acquisition of Ad Dynamo.


Fasken’s employment practice has an especially strong reputation for advising on a wide range of pension fund matters, including restructuring and regulatory issues. Collective bargaining, restraint of trade and unfair dismissal disputes are other pillars of strength for the group. Paul Fouche, who heads the practice, is a key name for handling labour disputes. Neil Searle acts for senior executives and employers in the pharmaceutical, construction, mining and logistics industries, and stands out for his work in business transfers and market exits. Ludwig Frahm-Arp has an excellent reputation for his work in pensions matters. Daphney Willem handles the employment aspects of transactions, as well as a broad range of employment-related litigation. Owethu Mbambo and Alice Letsoalo play important roles in the department.

Practice head(s):

Paul Fouche

Other key lawyers:

Ludwig Frahm-Arp; Neil Searle; Daphney Willem; Owethu Mbambo; Alice Letsoalo


‘The team are highly knowledgeable and professional at all times. They are available, especially Neil Searle, and always willing to support on any topic.’

‘Very professional and they always keep you updated on a matter.’

‘Fasken’s team is very efficient. They propose solutions and they are easily understandable. Good service.’

Key clients

Industrial Commodities Holdings (Pty) Ltd

eTradex (Pty) Ltd t/a Global Trade Solution

SPX DB Thermal

Sandvik Mining and Constructions (Pty) Ltd

Public Investment Corporation

Medtronic Africa Pty Ltd

Zizwe OP

Lear Corporation

Ecorys BV

Air Liquide (Pty) Ltd

Air Liquide Large Industries South Africa (Pty) Ltd

Bayer (Pty) Ltd

Novartis South Africa (Pty) Ltd

Robinson Liquors (Pty) Ltd t/a Ultra Liquors

Alfa Laval

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc

The employment and labour team at Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc has an established track record in advising on a range of contentious and non-contentious work. The group continues to handle a high volume of mandates involving industrial action issues, unfair dismissals and business transfers. Mohammed Chavoos has noted expertise in handling cases involving executive dismissals, and department head Murray Alexander brings experience in collective bargaining, restructurings and retrenchments, and outsourcing issues. Other key practitioners to note are Jason Whyte , Karen Ainslie and Laura Macfarlane.

Practice head(s):

Murray Alexander

Other key lawyers:

Jason Whyte; Mohammed Chavoos; Karen Ainslie; Laura Macfarlane


An excellent legal service.’

Prompt, responsive and good listeners.’

Mohammed Chavoos is an excellent professional with deep legal knowledge.’

Key clients

National Brands Limited

South African Custodial Management (Pty) Ltd (“SACM”) and its shareholders, the GEO Group, in the United States of America (“USA”), and Kensani Corrections Management (Pty) Ltd

South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC)

National Brands Limited – Entyce Durban Tea Factory

National Bargaining Council for the Sugar Manufacturing and Refining Industry

A major NPO in the public health sector

Sanlam Limited Life Insurance Limited

Sanlam Limited and Sanlam Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd

South African Apparel Association; and Apparel and Textile Association of South Africa

Netcare Hospitals (Pty) Ltd

Libstar Operations (Pty) Ltd

Werksmans Attorneys

At Werksmans Attorneys, the ‘very thorough‘ labour and employment team stands out for its strength in assisting prominent domestic and multinational clients with restructuring pension funds, employment contracts and collective bargaining issues, alongside advising on the implementation of employment policies. Practice head Sandile July is a specialist in litigation and labour law, and Jacques van Wyk advises on executive terminations, corporate restructurings and the employment aspects of M&A transactions. Bradley Workman-Davies acts on pension cases, and Andre Van Heerden advises on restraints of trade issues, dismissals claims and employment-related dispute resolution. Nonkosazana Nkosi is singled out for her contributions to the practice group.

Practice head(s):

Sandile July

Other key lawyers:

Jacques van Wyk; Andre Van Heerden; Bradley Workman-Davies; Nonkosazana Nkosi


‘The team lead by Bradley Workman-Davies is collaborative and supportive. His support team is diverse and informed. ’

‘Bradley Workman-Davies is dynamic, informed and his turn around time is incomparable. He is a pillar of support for our business. ’

Key clients

Department of Home Affairs

South African Civil Aviation Authority

South African Broadcasting Corporation (SOC) Ltd

Air Traffic and Navigation Services SOC Limited

Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa

Department of Small Business Enterprises

Small Enterprise Finance Agency (SOC) Limited

Mobile Telephone Networks (Pty) Ltd

Exxaro Resources Limited

Medshield Medical Scheme

African Exploration Mining and Finance Corporation (SOC) Ltd

Bidvest Commercial Products (Pty) Ltd

National Finance Housing Corporation (SOC) Ltd

Risima Housing Finance Corporation (SOC) Limited

Aberdare Cables (Pty) Ltd

Basil Read Holdings Limited

Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority

Housing Development Agency

SizweNtsalubaGobodo Grant Thornton Inc.

Professor Mamokhethi Phakeng (Tenth Vice-Chancellor: University of Cape Town)

Dense Media Separation Powders (PTY) Limited

Lounics International

Nihilent Technologies Limited

Insurance Sector Education and Training Authority (INSETA)

Media Development and Diversity Agency

South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors

Reagetswe Mining Group

Statistics South Africa

South African Football Association

Department of Correctional Services

Construction Education and Training Authority

The Services Sector Education and Training Authority

Astron Energy (Pty) Ltd

Geberit Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd

Coaxle Pty Ltd

TI Fluids PLC

Steinhoff Africa Holdings (Pty) Ltd

Total Energies Marketing South Africa (Pty) Ltd

Royal Canin South Africa / MARS group

Tronox Limited

Ascendis Pharmaceuticals

Discovery Limited

Genpact Limited

Family Health International 360

IQVIA / RDS Clindepharm

Japan External Trade Organisation

Steyn City Properties

Solenta Aviation

Baker McKenzie Johannesburg

At Baker McKenzie Johannesburg, the ‘very responsive‘ employment and compensation practice stands out for its ‘professional, effective, practical advice‘, and has notable strength in handling cross-border work for multinational clients. Corporate restructurings, pensions work, collective agreements and labour disputes are prominent areas of instruction for the group. Department head Johan Botes‘ areas of expertise include transfers of undertakings and industrial relations matters. Shane Johnson plays an important role in the team. Tracy van der Colff left the firm in September 2023.

Practice head(s):

Johan Botes

Other key lawyers:

Shane Johnson


‘Johan Botes is always on point and very quick to respond. His team is also very helpful, providing guidance in a concise manner.’

Johan provides sound commercial advice.’

The practice provides concrete advice and fully understands the clients’ objectives.’

Key clients

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)

Beech Veltman Inc

Melanie Hart leads Beech Veltman Inc’s employment practice, which continues to be kept particularly busy advising clients from the mining sector on a range of employment matters; infrastructure and natural resources work remain key pillars of strength for the group. Firm CEO Warren Beech has a solid track record in representing companies in inquiries and inquests arising from workplace accidents. Bryan White assists with mining-related commercial agreements, regulatory issues and compliance work. Mbuyi Katumba stands out for his contributions. Refiloe Vengeni left the firm in October 2022.

Practice head(s):

Melanie Hart

Other key lawyers:

Warren Beech; Bryan White; Mbuyi Katumba


‘A diversified team, each with his/her own strengths and specialized fields of practice. ’

‘Melanie Hart is very well versed in employment laws. She always remains objective, yet with her clients’ best interest at heart. She is an excellent litigator.’

‘Great legal minds, and absolute experts in their field.’

Key clients

Acino Forensic (Pty) Ltd

Afrimat Proprietary Limited

AngloGold Ashanti Limited

Africa Global Logistics SA (previously Bollore Logistics (Pty) Ltd)

Eurasian Resources Group Limited

MiX Telematics (Pty) Ltd

PPS Insurance Company Limited

Primeserv Group Limited

Samancor Chrome Limited

Glencore Operations South Africa

Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited

Seriti Coal (Proprietary) Limited

Thungela Resources Limited

Lyttelton Dolomite (Pty) Ltd

Primeserv Group Limited

Kusile Civil Works Joint Venture


STA Coal Mining (Proprietary) Ltd

Eckraal Quarries (Pty) Ltd

Umsizi (Pty) Ltd

Work highlights

  • Represented Mix Telematics (Pty) Ltd in an urgent application for the enforcement of an agreement of restraint of trade involving a former employee and the employee’s new employer.
  • Acted for Kusile Civil Works Joint Venture in a contractual dispute; the key issue was whether an employee had been dismissed or whether their fixed term contract had expired.
  • Representing a petroleum company in multiple disciplinary matters arising from an explosion and deflagration incident at a refinery, resulting in two employee deaths and seven employees being injured.

DLA Piper Advisory Services (pty) Ltd

The experienced Monique Jefferson heads DLA Piper Advisory Services (pty) Ltd’s employment practice, and is well-versed in assisting clients from the technology, insurance, retail, life sciences and financial services sectors with a range of employment matters. The team is sought after for advising on collective bargaining, industrial relations, the employment aspects of corporate transactions and workplace misconduct issues. Justine Katz is a key name in the group. Faryn Nana left the firm in June 2023.

Practice head(s):

Monique Jefferson

Other key lawyers:

Justine Katz


‘The team we work with makes us feel that our needs come first. They are really responsive when there is a crisis.’

‘The individuals are all very knowledgeable in their respective areas of expertise. They also know their limits and will refer us to the correct department/person if it is not within their scope.’

‘The team make every effort to understand your business and its needs, whilst balancing this with keeping you legally compliant. They consistently maintain a quick turnaround time and ensure you feel supported throughout.’

‘Monique made herself available at incredibly short notice on multiple occasions due to the highly time sensitive nature of what we were working on. She then supported us throughout the process whilst tailoring it to meet our goals and handle our moving challenges.’

‘Solid legal advice.’

‘Monique Jefferson provides tailored, practical advice.’

Key clients

FirstRand Bank


Real Foods Group

Direct Axis Business Unit (a business unit of FirstRand Bank)

Shoprite Checkers

Work highlights

  • Advising the curator of Ubank on the employment aspects of the disposal of Ubank’s assets and liabilities to African Bank.
  • Handled the employment-related due diligence relating to Dogstar Mauritius, a majority shareholder in renewable energy services provider Starsight Energy, merging with South African-based solar firm, SolarAfrica Energy.
  • Advising Shoprite Checkers on the employment-related aspects of its acquisition of assets owned by subsidiaries of Massmart Holdings.

Eversheds (SA) Inc. (a member of Eversheds Sutherland)

Eversheds (SA) Inc. (a member of Eversheds Sutherland)‘s employment practice has a solid track record in handling a wide spectrum of matters, including workplace misconduct, unfair dismissal disputes, retrenchments and business transfers. Department head Sandro Milo is sought after for his expertise in assisting clients within the tertiary education sector, also a key area of strength for Nadia Froneman. Tasso Anestidis regularly handles retrenchment matters. Justine Shear and Kyle-Terry Lamb are notable names in the practice group.

Practice head(s):

Sandro Milo

Other key lawyers:

Tasso Anestidis; Nadia Froneman; Justine Shear; Kyle-Terry Lamb


‘This firm has a culture of genuinely caring and wanting what is best for their clients.’

‘Sandro Milo is a brilliant attorney and partner. He does most of his own litigation and is always thoroughly prepared with meticulous attention to detail. Nadia Froneman is a dynamic partner and has shown herself to be an excellent labour lawyer. Kyle-Terry Lamb is always responsive to queries.’

‘Very diverse team with an exceptional knowledge base of the sector.’

‘Very caring, excellent case management and to-the-point advice, first time. Understand our needs very well.’

Key clients

Merchants SA (Pty) Ltd

Kintetsu World Express

The Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation Management Services

Rhodes University

University of Johannesburg

Dimension Data (Pty) Ltd

DHL Supply Chain (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd

University of the Witwatersrand





Karl Storz Endoscopy South Africa (Pty) Ltd

Work highlights

  • Defended the University of the Witwatersrand in an arbitration arising from an unfair dismissal dispute.
  • Successfully opposed an urgent application in the Labour Court brought against the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation by an employee challenging the procedural fairness of her retrenchment.