Werksmans Attorneys > Cape Town, South Africa > Firm Profile

Werksmans Attorneys
South Africa

South Africa > Dispute resolution Tier 1

Werksmans Attorneys has an impressive track record in high-profile commercial litigations and disputes in the High Court, Supreme Court of Appeals and Constitutional Court, as well as conducting arbitrations domestically and internationally. Business rescue and insolvency mandates and tax litigation are also within the team’s capabilities. Sectors of focus for the group include IT, agriculture, banking, healthcare, retail and energy. Corlett Manaka  is head of the department and reputable in the constitutional and administrative law space, as well as business crime and investigations work. Chairman of the firm David Hertz is a strong litigator and Des Williams is also notable in litigation and international arbitration. Other team members include shareholder dispute expert Jones Antunes , land reform specialist Bulelwa Mabasa , pensions litigator Darren Willans  and construction and engineering lawyer Sarah Moerane .

Practice head(s):

Key clients

South African Reserve Bank

Public Investment Corporation

Telkom SA

Industrial Development Corporation

Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa

Steinhoff Africa Holdings


Gold Fields Operations

EOH Mthombo



SGB Africa

FirstRand Bank

Medscheme Holdings

N3 Toll Concessions

International Commodity Trader

International Chemical Company

Work highlights

  • Representing Telkom SA in a review application that it has launched against the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa concerning several proposed spectrum tenders.
  • Representing the Prudential Authority in an application launched against it and the Constantia Group of Companies for reconsideration of the Prudential Authority’s decision relating to the conversion of insurance licences under the new Insurance Act at the newly established Financial Services Tribunal.
  • Representing Gold Fields in an action in which the plaintiffs have claimed payment of certain amounts which the plaintiffs assert constitute damages in respect of shares allegedly stolen directly or indirectly by various individuals, two groups of whom are alleged to have constituted the directing and controlling minds of JCI and Gold Fields respectively, and the conduct of which groups of individuals is alleged to be attributable to each of JCI and Gold Fields as joint wrongdoers.

South Africa > Banking and finance Tier 2

The banking and finance team at Werksmans Attorneys counts major financial institutions and banks from across South Africa and beyond in its client portfolio. The practice has a wide ranging offering, covering matters including syndicated and bilateral finance, leveraged and acquisition finance and structured finance. Commodity and trade finance is also a strength of the team, in addition to debt capital markets transactions, securitisations and debt restructuring. Richard Roothman  is head of the department with expertise in bilateral and syndicated loan transactions. Director Danny Andropoulos handles preference share transactions, acting for lenders and borrowers.

Practice head(s):

Key clients

Absa Group

Absa Corporate and Investment Bank


Bidvest Group

Investec Bank


Rand Merchant Bank


Standard Bank

Shoprite Holdings

Shoprite Investments

South African Reserve Bank

Transaction Capital Risk Services

Tronox Mineral Sands

Vantage Capital

Africa Frontier Capital

Capital Harvest

Investec Property Fund

Work highlights

  • Advised IPF and IPFO in connection with the funding of IPFO’s increased shareholding in a Pan-European Logistics Property Platform.
  • Acted as legal counsel to the consortium of South African and international banks and other lenders in connection with certain loan facilities provided to the Edcon Group of companies.
  • Acted as legal counsel to Investec Bank in connection with a number of credit facilities made available to Vox Telecommunications and the restructuring of existing debt facilities.

South Africa > Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 2

At Werksmans Attorneys, Kevin Trudgeon  leads the commercial side of the department and Gerhard Johannes  heads up the corporate and M&A practice.  the team acts for both public and private clients across sectors such as mining, retail, telecommunications, banking and insurance in domestic and cross-border corporate mergers, private equity mandates, takeovers and restructurings. Its involvement in BEE transactions, environmental compliance and business rescue cases is also on the rise, and regulatory mandates are also within the team’s strong capabilities. David Gewer is especially strong in mining-related M&A matters.

Key clients

Absa Bank

Arcelormittal South Africa

Berkshire Partners LLC

Bidvest Group

Bid Corporation

Blue Label Telecoms

Brother Industrial SA


Capitalworks Fund II SPV Partnership

Equity Partnership II

Clover Industries


Endo International PLC

Glencore PLC

Hammerson PLC


Isuzu Motors

Kerry Group PLC


Mitsubishi Motors Corporation

Nissan South Africa

Peregrine Holdings

Samancor Chrome

Sasfin Bank


Standard Bank

Steinhoff International Holdings


The Prepaid Company Proprietary Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the Independent Board of Peregrine on their response to a take-over offer.
  • Advised Comair Limited in relation to the transaction contemplated by the business rescue plan which entails the acquisition of 99% of the shareholding in Comair by a consortium of investors.
  • Acted for 4Racing in concluding a series of agreements with Phumelela Gaming and Leisure and various other members of the PGL group of companies, in terms of which, 4Racing will acquire from PGL the horse racing, media production and distribution of horse racing products and tote betting business conducted by PGL and certain fixed odds betting licences and immovable properties from other members of the PGL Group.

South Africa > Competition Tier 2

A core part of Werksmans Attorneys‘ competition practice involves advising domestic and multinational corporate companies with merger-related mandates. Additionally, it handles contested merger and antitrust litigation, including defending clients against abuse of dominance allegations before the Competition Commission and Competition Tribunal, with particular emphasis on the telecommunications, technology, internet and media sectors. The team is also active in cartel investigations and compliance training. The experienced competition expert Paul Coetser  leads the group with strengths in litigation especially.

Practice head(s):

Key clients

Axa S.A.

American Towers Corporation

Bidvest Group

Blue Label Telecommunications

Cape Fruit Processors

Cardtronics PLC


Credit Suisse Group AG


Glencore International AG


Isuzu Motors

Macsteel Global S.A.R.L. BV

Mobile Telephone Networks

MTN Group


Naspers Group and its subsidiaries

PG Bison

RH Managers

Samancor Chrome

Samsung Electronics

Shoprite Checkers


Telkom SA SOC

Tupperware Corporation

Volvo Financial Services LLC

Waco Africa

Work highlights

  • Represented Media24 successfully regarding the Competition Commission’s allegations of abuse of dominance by predating on an independent community newspaper in the Goldfields region.
  • Advised Comair and its business rescue practitioners regarding a newly formed consortium of investors’ acquisition of 99% of Comair’s shareholding for a total debt and equity package of ca ZAR1.725bn.
  • Represented MultiChoice and Electronic Media Network in the Inquiry into Subscription Broadcasting Services by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa.

South Africa > Employment Tier 2

The labour and employment team at Werksmans Attorneys has a robust record in advising corporate clients on employment issues such as health and safety and pensions, with a focus on contentious work. A significant proportion of the work undertaken by the team involves advising multinational clients on the appointment and termination of executives and restructuring of local operations. Anastasia Vatalidis  is the head of the labour and employment practice, with particular expertise in dispute resolution and issues relating to corporate transactions and restructurings.

Practice head(s):

Anastasia Vatalidis

Other key lawyers:

Sandile July; Jacques van Wyk; Bradley Workman-Davies

Key clients

Adcock Ingram Healthcare Proprietary Limited

Siemens AG

Eli Lilly SA Proprietary Limited

Worley RSA Proprietary Limited

Aspen Pharmacare Proprietary Limited

Investec Limited

Mobile Telephone Networks

Puma Energy Services South Africa

Discovery Life Limited

South African Airways (SOC) Limited


South African Reserve Bank

Steinhoff Properties Pty Ltd

Tronox Incorporated

Railway Safety Regulator

Industrial Development Corporation

South African Forestry Company Limited

PRASA Metrorail Western Cape

South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)

National Commissioner of SAPS

Sanlam Life Insurance Limited

Gauteng Office of the Premier


Astral Operations Limited

APL Cartons (Pty) Ltd

Oppenheimer Generations Custodian SA (Pty) Ltd

Gautrain Management Agency

Civil Aviation Authority

City of Johannesburg (COJ)

Tiber Construction Proprietary Limited

Lounics International

PPC Limited

Shoprite Checkers (Pty) Ltd

Distell (Pty) Ltd

Group 5 Construction Proprietary Limited

Astron Energy (Pty) Ltd

Bidvest Group Limited

Department of Employment and Labour

Santam Limited

Software AG South Africa Proprietary Limited

Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings

Caterpillar Financial Services South Africa Proprietary Limited

Redefine Properties

Land Bank

Royal Canin

Discovery Limited

EOH Limited

South African National Parks

Air Traffic Navigation Service

South Africa > Mining Tier 2

Werksmans Attorneys caters to mining clients based in North America, Europe and Australia, in addition to South African mining houses and black economic empowerment mining companies. The team is adept at acting for clients in M&A transactions, health and safety matters, disputes and statutory and regulatory compliance mandates. It also advises on the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 2002, the Mining Charter, black economic empowerment and environmental law and waste management. Chris Stevens is head of the practice and he is supported by director and financing expert David Gewer, transactional lawyer Steven Lochner and director and disputes lawyer Kathleen Louw, Director Athi Jara joined the team from Gwina Attorneys in March 2021.

Practice head(s):

Key clients

Glencore South Africa

Seriti Power

Samancor Chrome

Petra Diamonds

Gold Fields

Assmang Proprietary

Thungela Resources

Mbuyelo Coal




Rustenburg Platinum Mines

Samancor Manganese

Londani Coal

Sebilo Resources

Nkwe Platinum

Ntsimbintle Mining

Work highlights

  • Represented South 32 in a matter which involved High Court litigation against the DMR granting the refusal of mining rights.
  • Advised Andalusite Resources regarding the sale of its entire business to ARM Andalusite pursuant to the seller’s business rescue plan approving such sale.
  • Advised Oakwood Trading 21 on the disposal of its entire shareholding in Coza Mining.

South Africa > Projects and infrastructure Tier 2

Chris Moraitis  leads the infrastructure, energy and projects team at Werksmans Attorneys with particular expertise in toll road and transportation infrastructure projects. The department has the expertise to advise clients across a range of projects, including those in the road, rail, water, energy, defence, technology and mining sectors. Developers, sponsors and lenders are all within its client roster, and the firm assists them on the corporate, compliance and financing elements of projects. Deon Griessel is active in completing the EPC contract aspects of projects and transactions.

Practice head(s):

Key clients


Standard Bank

Absa Bank

CRI Eagle Investments

Gautrain Management Agency

Korea Electric Power Corporation

Old Mutual Life Assurance Company


Panda Hill Tanzania

Public Investment Corporation


South African National Roads Agency SOC


WBHO Construction

Work highlights

  • Advising Standard Bank, IFC, Nedbank as the senior lenders in respect of the Mulilo Total Coega Project and Mulilo Total Hydra Storage Project which are both preferred bidders under the Risk Mitigation IPP Procurement Programme.  
  • Representing SANRAL with respect to the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project including amendments to the requisite legislation to facilitate open road tolling and optimal and effective law enforcement and the procurement of an open road tolling system and a national clearing house.
  • Representing WBHO on the Kopanong Precinct PPP Project for the procurement of private party consortia to deliver and manage the cluster buildings under a PPP procurement of serviced accommodation in the Kopanong Precinct.

South Africa > Real estate Tier 2

The real estate team at Werksmans Attorneys spans across three offices in Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Johannesburg, and represents major South African property developers and financial institutions on a broad range of matters. These include property development, M&A, disposals in the hotel and leisure sector, and transactions involving retail and commercial property. Also of note is the department’s significant involvement in the creation of Section 12J Investment structures. Hendrik Kotze  in Stellenbosch and Fátima Rodrigues in Johannesburg jointly lead the practice.

Key clients

ABSA Capital

Berman Bros. Property Developers

Bigen Africa Project Management

Business Partners

Castle Estates

CRI Eagle Investments


Hirt and Carter

Intaprop Property Development and Investment


Investec Bank

Investec Property Fund

Investec Property

National Research Foundation


New Property Ventures

Omnigro Property Developers


Oxford Parks

Pepkor Holdings

Pioneer Limited and Quantum Food Holdings

Redefine Properties

Redford Advisory Services

RMB Private Bank


Shoprite Holdings

The Standard Bank of South Africa

Standard Bank Properties

Steyn City Properties

The Capital Group Apartments and Hotels

V&A Waterfront Holdings

Vantage Property Developers

Waterfall Management Company

West Property Fund

Westbrooke 2018 Stac

Westbrooke Alternative Asset Management

Westbrooke ALTO

Westbrooke Capital Hospitality

Westbrooke Capital Partners

Westbrooke 2019 Stac

Work highlights

  • Advising Castle Estates on the proposed new large scale mixed use development along the West Coast (Vredenburg/ Saladanah Bay Municipality district).
  • Assisted West Property Fund in all aspects of the establishment of this South African property fund and recently assisted with the establishment of their UK property fund.
  • Advised Investec Bank Limited on its acquisition of all of the shares in Omwieco, the owner of a large scale mixed use property development

South Africa > Tax Tier 2

Chartered accountant Ernest Mazansky  leads the tax department at Werksmans Attorneys. The practice advises large corporates and high-net-worth individuals and families on mandates both within South Africa and internationally. The tax aspects of commercial dealings, private equity, black economic empowerment transactions and restructurings, as well as tax-related disputes, are all within the team’s strong capabilities. Michael Honiball is head of the firm’s international tax group and Doelie Lessing is notable in the tax and investment funds and private equity arena.

Practice head(s):

Key clients

Clover Industries

Dairy Farmers of SA

Evolution Property Management

Investec Bank

King Price Financial Services

Macsteel Holdings Luxembourg SARL BV.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP

Pepkor Trading

Qorus Software

Shoprite Holdings

SMD Technologies

Stockdale Street

Safika Holdings

Transaction Capital

Zenprop Property Holdings

Work highlights

  • Advised Transaction Capital in respect of the subscription for 49.9% of the ordinary shares in WeBuyCars.
  • Advised a private equity investment group on the proposed acquisition of a major stake in a listed company.
  • Advised individuals, who are South African residents but citizens of EU country and hold their assets jointly, who chose to unwind certain offshore arrangements and transfer and resettle assets and settle claims.

South Africa > Intellectual property Tier 3

Werksmans Attorneys' IP team supports the firm’s commercial and general litigation practices as well as advising on IP due diligence investigations among other work. Janine Hollesen  heads the IP practice area and Donvay Wegierski  leads the foreign trademark division handling multi-jurisdictional matters.

Practice head(s):

Janine Hollesen

Other key lawyers:

Donvay Wegierski

Key clients

Capitec Bank Limited

Clover S.A. Proprietary Limited

Comair Limited

Diverse Flavours CC

Groot Constantia Trust

Media24 Proprietary Limited

Monster Beverages

Pepkor Limited

Petredec International Pte Limited

Pioneer Foods (Pty) Limited, Pepsico

Santam Limited

Sharenet Investments (Pty) Limited

Shopify Inc

Shoprite Checkers (Pty) Limited

South African Rugby Union

Stellenbosch Outdoor Sculpture Trust

Swartland Winery

Technopharma Limited

Tekkie Town Proprietary

Telkom SOC Limited

Quantum Foods Proprietary Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted on behalf of Monster Energy in numerous trademark oppositions throughout Africa.
  • Represented Pepkor Speciality (Pty) Ltd in a trademark infringement and passing off.
  • Appointed as the attorneys for the Irish and British Lions Tour taking place in July/August 2021 and drafted a strategic branding policy to include counterfeit goods and ticketing.

South Africa > Investment funds Tier 3

The investment funds and private equity team at Werksmans Attorneys is chaired by Shayne Krige  from Cape Town. Investors and managers in South Africa and across the continent are within the group’s client roster, and private equity, hedge funds and pensions funds are all active areas for the practice. Robert Driman  in Cape Town holds expertise in financial services and regulation and Doelie Lessing  in Stellenbosch is an expert in tax law. Hilah Laskov was promoted to director in March 2021. Krige is connected to the EU market, having spent over a decade practicing in Paris.

Practice head(s):

Key clients

Stonewood Holdings

Barak Fund Management

Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund


Standard Bank

Chase & Willow Investment Partners


CNBB Venture Partners

Cosnova Cosmetix

Havaic Venture Capital

Arx Pangaia

Ngewdi Investment Managers


King Price Insurance


Sana Partners Private Equity

Kapela Investments Holdings

Vumela Enterprise Development Fund Trust

First National Bank

King & Wood Mallesons LLP

Palladino Holdings

BI Tech Consulting

Simple.Capital Partners

Malcolm Neil Campbell in his capacity as the curator of Die Vrystaat Munisipale Pensioenfonds

Work highlights

  • Advised the principals of the Belvedere Group, who are accused by the press of administering a large Ponzi scheme.
  • Acting for Barak Fund Management in relation to the restructuring of a suite of investment funds in the wake of COVID-19.
  • Acting for the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund in respect of its rights under a limited partnership agreement in respect of a private equity fund in which the client invested.

The firm: Established in the early 1900s, Werksmans Attorneys is a leading South African corporate and commercial law firm, serving multinationals, listed companies, financial institutions, entrepreneurs and government.

Operating in Gauteng and the Western Cape, the firm is connected to an extensive African legal alliance through LEX Africa. LEX Africa was established in 1993 as the first and largest African legal alliance and offers huge potential for Werksmans’ clients seeking to do business on the continent by providing a gateway to Africa.

Areas of practice: With a formidable track record in mergers and acquisitions, banking and finance, and commercial litigation and dispute resolution, Werksmans is distinguished by the people, clients and work that it attracts and retains. Werksmans’ more than 200 lawyers are a powerful team of independent-minded individuals who share a common service ethos. The firm’s success is built on a solid foundation of insightful and innovative deal structuring and legal advice, a keen ability to understand business and economic imperatives and a strong focus on achieving the best legal outcome for clients.

Go to www.werksmans.com for more information.

Head of Banking & Finance Richard Roothmanrroothman@werksmans.com+27 11 535 8115
Head of Insolvency, Business Rescue and Restructuring Eric Levensteinelevenstein@werksmans.com+27 11 535 8237
Head of Competition Paul Coetserpcoetser@werksmans.com+27 11 535 8290
Head of Labour & Employment Anastasia Vatalidisavatalidis@werksmans.com+27 11 535 8472
Head of Business Crimes & Investigations Bernard Hotzbhotz@werksmans.com+27 11 535 8106
Head of Healthcare & Life Sciences Neil Kirbynkirby@werksmans.com+27 11 535 8198
Head of Investment Funds & Private Equity Shayne Krigeskrige@werksmans.com+27 21 405 5161
Head of Litigation and Dispute Resolution Corlett Manakacmanaka@werksmans.com+27 11 535 8145
Chairman David Hertzdhertz@werksmans.com+27 11 535 8283
Head of Construction & Engineering Jason Smitjasonsmit@werksmans.com+27 (0)11 535 8359
Head of Commercial Kevin Trudgeonktrudgeon@werksmans.com+27 11 535 8169
Head of Corporate M&A Gerhard Johannesgjohannes@werksmans.com+27 11 535 8107
Head of Mining, Environmental & Resources Chris Stevenscstevens@werksmans.com+27 11 535 8467
Head of Property & Real Estate (Johannesburg) Fatima Rodriguesfrodrigues@werksmans.com+27 11 535 8318
Head of Property & Real Estate (Western Cape) Hendrik Kotzehkotze@werksmans.com+27 21 910 9018
Head of Tax Ernest Mazanskyemazansky@werksmans.com+27 11 535 8448
Head of Arbitration Des Williamsdwilliams@werksmans.com+27 11 535 8234
Head of Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Pieter Steynpsteyn@werksmans.com+27 11 535 8296
Head of Data Privacy Ahmore Burger-Smidtaburgersmidt@werksmans.com+27 11 535 8462
Head of Infrastructure, Energy & Projects Chris Moraitiscmoraitis@werksmans.com+27 11 535 8271
Head of Intellectual Property Janine Hollesenjhollesen@werksmans.com+27 21 809 6011
Head of Land Reform Restitution & Tenure Bulelwa Mabasabmabasa@werksmans.com+27 11 535 8309
Head of Media, Communications & Technology Wendy Rosenbergwrosenberg@werksmans.com+27 11 535 8195
Head of Pro Bono Harold Jacobshjacobs@werksmans.com+27 11 535 8182
Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Bothajbotha@werksmans.com+27 11 535 8262
Yusri Adams photoMr Yusri AdamsSenior Associate
Bossau Boshoff photoMr Bossau BoshoffDirector
Godwin Bossr photoMr Godwin BossrDirector
Walid Brown photoMr Walid BrownDirector
Gerhard Cloete photoMr Gerhard CloeteDirector at Werksmans Attorneys
Dylan Cunard photoMr Dylan CunardDirector
Robert Driman photoMr Robert DrimanDirector
Nicholas Fairbarn photoMr Nicholas FairbarnAssociate
Ross Forgan photoMr Ross ForganDirector
Rael Gootkin photoMr Rael GootkinDirector
Irma-Dalene Gouws photoMs Irma-Dalene GouwsDirector
Michiel Heyns photoMr Michiel HeynsSenior Associate
Mbongiseni Hlongwana photoMr Mbongiseni HlongwanaAssociate
Janine Hollesen photoMs Janine HollesenDirector, Head of the Intellectual Property Practice
Tsholofelo Inno photoMs Tsholofelo InnoDirector
Aidan Kenny photoMr Aidan KennyDirector
Hendrik Kotze photoMr Hendrik KotzeDirector at Werksmans Attorneys
Shayne Krige photoMr Shayne KrigeDirector, Head of Investment Funds Practice
Petra Krusche photoMs Petra KruscheDirector
Doelie Lessing photoMs Doelie LessingDirector at Werksmans Attorneys 
Johan Lubbe photoMr Johan LubbeDirector
Jarryd Mardon photoMr Jarryd MardonSenior Associate
Janene Meiring photoMs Janene MeiringDirector
Boitumelo Moti photoMs Boitumelo MotiAssociate
Jyoti Narshi photoMs Jyoti NarshiSenior Associate
Asanda Ngxongo photoMr Asanda NgxongoAssociate
Jaco Niemand photoMr Jaco NiemandDirector
Brendan Olivier photoMr Brendan OlivierDirector
Willie Oosthuizen photoMr Willie OosthuizenDirector
Nasheetah Smith photoMs Nasheetah SmithSenior Associate
Justin Truter photoMr Justin TruterDirector 
Andre Van Heerden photoMr Andre Van HeerdenSenior Associate
Tania Volschenk photoMs Tania VolschenkSenior Associate
David Walker photoMr David WalkerDirector 
Donvay Wegierski photoMs Donvay WegierskiDirector
Marlaine Wiehahn photoMs Marlaine WiehahnDirector
Damian de Klerk photoMr Damian de KlerkAssociate
Herman van Niekerk photoMr Herman van NiekerkDirector
Jacques van Wyk photoMr Jacques van WykDirector
Number of lawyers : 213
Number of lawyers at all 3 WC offices : 62
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