Firm Profile > Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr > Johannesburg, South Africa

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr
South Africa

Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 1

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr continues to be at the forefront of listed company transactions in South Africa with strong teams in both Johannesburg and Cape Town. It is also building its presence in private equity deals, is 'accessible and has a wide range of skills'. Clients include Abraaj Group, Anglo American, Arcelormittal South Africa, Burger King, Dell, FirstRand and Heineken. It advised Sinopec, the Chinese oil giant, on its acquisition of 75% of Chevron’s downstream oil assets in South Africa and Botswana. Willem Jacobs is 'practical, solutions oriented and cost conscious' and David Pinnock is 'personable', 'gets the job done' and is recommended for private equity transactions. Johan Latsky, Peter Hesseling and Lilia Franca are also highly rated.

Construction Tier 1

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.

Dispute resolution Tier 1

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr has grown its presence in forensics, investigations and white-collar crime work. It acted for Media24 in an application launched by the Centre for Child Law and others seeking to extend the protection from identification applicable in criminal matters to all underage victims of crime. The 'top-notchTim Fletcher leads the team, which includes prominent mining disputes expert Rishaban Moodley, banking disputes expert Eugene Bester and business-rescue specialist Julian Jones. Former directors Jonathan Witts-Hewinson and Pieter Conradie are now executive consultants.

Real estate Tier 1

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr fields a considerable and experienced team that operates at the forefront of development, finance and acquisition work, and has taken a leading position in the evolution of REITs in South Africa. It advised Vukile Property Fund, Arrowhead Properties and Synergy Income Fund on the creation of Gemgrow, a real estate fund; the matter involved a complex transfer of properties between Vukile and Synergy, along with taking into account securities and mortgage bonds provided by the properties in the three -listed entities. Attie Pretorius, William MidgleyLucia Erasmus and John Webber are key names in the space.

Banking and finance Tier 2

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr remains noted for preference share fundings, derivatives, structured lending and bank regulatory matters. It advised Harmony Gold on a $200m equity take out bridge loan facility to fund part of the acquisition of the Moab Khotsong and Great Noligwa Mines from Anglo Gold Ashanti. Deon Wilken heads the department, which also includes seasoned figure Ludwig Smith, DCM specialist Pierre Swart and derivatives expert Bridget King.

Competition Tier 2

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr mixes a solid background in mergers with a growing presence in enforcement matters. It defended Uniplate in alleged abuse of dominance proceedings brought by the Competition Commission and represented Vodacom in the Commission's market inquiry into the price of data. The team 'has very strong technical knowledge coupled with strong commercial insight', and stands out for its 'excellent professional service delivery and proactive risk management and advice'. Chris Charter is 'smart and thoughtful' and Andries le Grange is 'invaluable in merger applications' thanks to his 'sound industry knowledge'. Lara Granville is an emerging talent.

Employment Tier 2

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.

Mining Tier 2

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr continues to demonstrate its leading credentials in transactions and regulatory issues. The firm is active across the mineral range, including in platinum, chrome and manganese, and acts for mining majors, mid-tier and juniors. It advised Eastern Platinum on its acquisition of Rustenburg Platinum Mines' 42.5% participation interest in the Pandora Joint Venture. Allan Reid is a recognised mining regulatory leader and Giada Masina is also highly rated.

Projects and infrastructure Tier 2

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is building its standing in energy and infrastructure projects across Africa. The firm has earned key engagements in Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ethiopia, Senegal and other jurisdictions. The team's 'directors are available and work on a partnership basis with clients', 'are in touch with evolving market conditions' and have 'extensive practical project finance experience that translates into sound and practical advice'.  Jay Govender has a long track record with Eskom in South Africa and now advises a range of developers, lenders (including development finance institutions) and EPC contractors across the continent. She led the team that advised the Ethiopian government on the global competitive procurement conducted for the 100MW Metehara solar photovoltaic project. Emma Dempster has a fine record in major renewable energy projects and small-scale embedded generation. Megan Rodgers leads on upstream oil and gas projects.

Tax Tier 2

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is the undisputed leader in financial services-related tax issues thanks to the presence of Emil Brincker, who is, arguably, 'the number one tax adviser' in the jurisdiction. He and the team act for many of the major banks and financial institutions in South Africa and have an exceptional record in corporate tax and cross-border M&A, tax litigation, VAT and funds-related tax. Ludwig Smith remains a key name for hybrid financing instruments and preference share funding-related tax issues. Gerhard Badenhorst is a leading VAT expert and Mark Linington is at the forefront of corporate tax and fund formation tax issues.

Investment funds Tier 3

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is building its standing in the industry thanks to the efforts of funds partner John Gillmer, who is 'solutions driven, responsive, and has a technical knowledge of the industry', along with senior tax structuring specialist Mark Linington. Gillmer led the team that advised 27four on the structuring and establishment of the 27four Black Business Growth Fund. Senior associate Wayne Murray also impresses.

The firm: Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (CDH) believes the right partnerships lead to great things. The partnerships it cherishes and values most are those it has forged through time and experience with its clients and, of course, its people.

CDH is a full-service law firm – one of the largest business law firms in South Africa, with more than 300 lawyers and a track record spanning 165 years.

Offering across the African continent: the firm is able to provide experienced legal support and an authentic knowledge-based legal service for clients looking to do business in key markets across Africa. Its Africa practice leverages resources and expertise of leading business law firms across the continent, tapping into a wealth of experience, particularly when it comes to acting for governments, state agencies and multinational organisations. This strategic network, spanning across the continent, results in an extensive African capability. The firm also partners with other professional disciplines such as audit firms, business consulting houses and corporate finance institutions to provide a seamless and integrated solution for multi-disciplinary projects. CDH focuses on a number of key sectors which are active and thriving in Africa, including mining and minerals, telecommunications, construction, energy, oil and gas, banking and finance, projects and infrastructure, hospitality and leisure, and arbitration.

With first-hand, in-depth experience, CDH is able to offer sector-specific expertise and knowledge of regulatory nuances to provide an exceptional integrated service across Africa. This includes a proven track record and deal experience across multiple jurisdictions in Africa, a practical and commercial approach, a multidisciplinary team of experts managed from a single point, extensive sector experience, and dedicated, partner-led teams.

Areas of practice: The firm’s corporate and commercial offering covers the full spectrum of business legal services, which it delivers through core practice areas and sector teams.

CDH has 12 esteemed core practice areas: corporate and commercial; competition; dispute resolution; employment; environmental; finance and banking; pro bono and human rights; projects and infrastructure; real estate; tax and exchange control; technology and outsourcing; and trusts and estates. The firm also has dedicated sector teams composed of lawyers from across practice areas, bringing a wealth of experience to key industries, such as aviation, black economic empowerment, construction and engineering, convergence and new media, employee benefits, energy, hospitality and leisure, insolvency and restructuring, insurance, M&A, mining and minerals, oil and gas, outsourcing, PPPs, private equity and more. In addition, the firm has extensive public sector experience, acting for a large number of government departments and state-owned entities.

Whether needing seamless coordination across a number of jurisdictions or delivery in a single location, the firm’s clients can rely on advice that is underpinned by a solid understanding of both local and international considerations.

Diversity: CDH values diversity, respect for the individual and equal opportunity. At CDH, transformation is considered the shared responsibility of everyone in the firm. The firm puts a great deal of energy and time into its ongoing initiatives which aim to achieve CDH’s greater transformation aspirations.

Corporate responsibility: CDH undertakes to look after the communities in which it operates through pro bono and volunteer work. To this end, CDH’s dedicated pro bono and human rights practice facilitates access to justice for the disadvantaged and vulnerable.

Department Name Email Telephone
BEE Verushca Pillay
Competition Chris Charter
Convergence and new media Janet Mackenzie
Corporate and commercial Willem Jacobs
Dispute resolution Tim Fletcher
Employment Aadil Patel
Energy Jay Govender
Finance and banking, debt capital markets Deon Wilken
M&A Willem Jacobs
Mining Allan Reid
Private equity Mark Linington
Product liability Pieter Conradie
Projects and infrastructure Jay Govender
Public sector Aadil Patel
Real estate John Webber
Tax and exchange control Emil Brincker
Technology and sourcing Christoff Pienaar
Photo Name Position Profile
 Mmatiki Aphiri  photo Mmatiki Aphiri
Mr Albert Aukema  photo Mr Albert Aukema
 Gerhard Badenhorst  photo Gerhard Badenhorst
 Timothy Baker  photo Timothy Baker
 Gretchen Barkhuizen-Barbosa  photo Gretchen Barkhuizen-Barbosa
 Eugene Bester  photo Eugene Bester
Mrs Preeta Bhagattjee  photo Mrs Preeta Bhagattjee
 Stephen Boikanyo  photo Stephen Boikanyo
 Roelof Bonnet  photo Roelof Bonnet
Prof Emil Brincker  photo Prof Emil Brincker
 Bronwyn Brown  photo Bronwyn Brown
 Nayna Cara  photo Nayna Cara
 Jacquie Cassette  photo Jacquie Cassette
 Etta Chang  photo Etta Chang
 Chris Charter  photo Chris Charter
 Mohsina Chenia  photo Mohsina Chenia
 Faan Coetzee  photo Faan Coetzee
Mr Pieter Conradie  photo Mr Pieter Conradie
 Clem Daniel  photo Clem Daniel
 Jenni Darling  photo Jenni Darling
 Emma Dempster  photo Emma Dempster
 Simone Dickson  photo Simone Dickson
 Lucia Erasmus  photo Lucia Erasmus
 Petr Erasmus  photo Petr Erasmus
 Jackwell Feris  photo Jackwell Feris
 Tim Fletcher  photo Tim Fletcher
 Lilia Franca  photo Lilia Franca
 Thabile Fuhrmann  photo Thabile Fuhrmann
 Fatima Gattoo  photo Fatima Gattoo
 Muhammad Gattoo  photo Muhammad Gattoo
 Jay Govender  photo Jay Govender
 Lara Granville  photo Lara Granville
 Dries Hoek  photo Dries Hoek
 Anja Hofmeyr  photo Anja Hofmeyr
 Quintin Honey  photo Quintin Honey
Mr Willem Jacobs  photo Mr Willem Jacobs
 Willem Janse van Rensburg  photo Willem Janse van Rensburg
 Julian Jones  photo Julian Jones
 Tobie Jordaan  photo Tobie Jordaan
 Jacqueline King  photo Jacqueline King
 Bridget King  photo Bridget King
 Yaniv Kleitman  photo Yaniv Kleitman
 Johan Latsky  photo Johan Latsky
 Fiona Leppan  photo Fiona Leppan
 Corne Lewis  photo Corne Lewis
 Mark Linington  photo Mark Linington
 Heinrich Louw  photo Heinrich Louw
 Giada Masina  photo Giada Masina
 Nonhla Mchunu  photo Nonhla Mchunu
 Burton Meyer  photo Burton Meyer
 William Midgley  photo William Midgley
 Rishaban Moodley  photo Rishaban Moodley
 Mashudu Mphafudi  photo Mashudu Mphafudi
 Gasant Orrie  photo Gasant Orrie
 Byron O’Connor  photo Byron O’Connor
Mr Aadil Patel  photo Mr Aadil Patel
 Hugo Pienaar  photo Hugo Pienaar
 Verushca Pillay  photo Verushca Pillay
Mr David Pinnock  photo Mr David Pinnock
Mr Attie Pretorius  photo Mr Attie Pretorius
 Thabang Rapuleng  photo Thabang Rapuleng
Mr Allan Reid  photo Mr Allan Reid
 Muriel Serfontein  photo Muriel Serfontein
 Preshan Singh-Dhulam  photo Preshan Singh-Dhulam
 Ludwig Smith  photo Ludwig Smith
 Ben Strauss  photo Ben Strauss
 Pierre Swart  photo Pierre Swart
 Tamarin Tosen  photo Tamarin Tosen
 Roxanna Valayathum  photo Roxanna Valayathum
 John Webber  photo John Webber
 Joe Whittle  photo Joe Whittle
Mr Deon Wilken  photo Mr Deon Wilken
 Charl Williams  photo Charl Williams
Mr Brent Williams  photo Mr Brent Williams
Mr Jonathan Witts-Hewinson  photo Mr Jonathan Witts-Hewinson
 Michael Yeates  photo Michael Yeates
 Andries le Grange  photo Andries le Grange
 Willie van Wyk  photo Willie van Wyk
 Roux van der Merwe  photo Roux van der Merwe
Contact : Brent Williams (CEO)
Other offices : Cape Town

CDH acknowledges that South Africa’s apartheid and gender discrimination legacy has adversely impacted on the legal profession and has inhibited access to both the profession and legal services.

We face the challenge of transformation and empowerment head on. We are a truly South African law firm where transformation is about living our values and principles.

We aspire to be a firm:

  • whose partners and professional and support employees are representative of the racial, gender, cultural and religious diversity of the people of South Africa;
  • where men and women at all levels within the firm enjoy equal opportunities and treatment in relation to access to work, recruitment, promotion and remuneration; and
  • that creates a working environment that is sensitive to the particular challenges faced by previously marginalised groups such as women and black people.

Our values
We connect our people, our clients and our communities through our values and are committed to responsible stewardship. We value diversity and respect for the individual. We believe in teamwork for the good of the firm and our clients.

We are an employer of choice who believes in the development of our people that helps them achieve professional and personal fulfilment. We believe client satisfaction is at the heart of our business and we strive to achieve excellence in everything we do for them.

We are committed to long-term relationships with our clients that are based on openness, honesty and integrity. We believe in living our core values and investing in our communities. 

Pro Bono and Human Rights practice 
Our dedicated Pro Bono and Human Rights practice was launched as a commitment to strengthening the firm’s pro bono services.  The practice assists indigent and disadvantaged people to access justice and forwards human rights and constitutionalism through public interest work.  It also focuses on creating partnerships and nurturing relationships with NGO’s, non-profit organisations, and other appropriate institutions on a pro bono basis, as well as undertaking substantive project work.

Every lawyer in the firm is called on to make a contribution, which offers them the opportunity individually to fulfil their social responsibility commitments. Our young lawyers and candidate attorneys gain invaluable experience and perspective through exposure to a wide range of pro bono and human rights matters.

During the 2017 year the Pro Bono Practice assisted many of its clients resolve long arduous legal battles, with great positive impact, made significant progress in furthering the cause of others, partnered in exciting and innovative human rights initiatives, hosted high profile guests, and assisted other Practice areas in carrying out important and meaningful pro bono work. Our firm donated in excess of 6,500 hours and R16 million to deserving individuals and organisations.  In recognition of our contribution and those of others in the firm who have given generously of their time and expertise, we are proud to report that the firm won three awards during the 2017 year for its pro bono contributions and in so doing has cemented its reputation as one of the leading contributors to pro bono amongst law firms across the country.