Firm Profile > ENSafrica > Johannesburg, South Africa

South Africa

Banking and finance Tier 1

ENSafrica continues to win accolades for refinancings, restructurings and cross-border financings; the team features English and OHADA law experts. A team led by Craig Saven advised IFC on a tier 2 subordinated regulated capital loan to I&M Bank in Rwanda. The firm is also noted for regulatory work and fund-driven financings and is 'commercially savvy', 'understands its clients' businesses, the industry and realities', 'offers solutions to problems' and 'proactively tries to pre-empt any foreseeable problems'. Sean Lederman has an outstanding reputation, as does Roger Rudolph and preference share funding specialist Hermann Wessels. Clinton van Loggerenberg is 'a phenomenal debt capital markets attorney', is 'a pleasure to work with' and is especially recommended for derivatives and structured finance. Project finance expert Bradley Harber has joined from Norton Rose Fulbright.

Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 1

ENSafrica's sheer size, depth of senior resources and commitment to Africa coverage makes it a go-to firm for domestic and cross-border deals. The team 'combines outstanding technical expertise and experience with a highly responsive attitude', and senior members are 'very experienced, with excellent technical skills and seasoned judgement'. A group led by Julius Oosthuizen advised Sanlam Emerging Markets on Sanlam General Insurance Uganda's proposed acquisition of Lion Assurance, the Ugandan Insurer. 'Real gentleman' Michael Katz has virtually unrivalled connections in South Africa and Ian Hayes is another premier dealmaker. Doron Joffe and Cape Town's Koos Pretorius are also top practitioners, while Lydia Shadrach-Razzino is a key name for private equity transactions. Former director Gary Felthun has joined White & Case LLP.

Competition Tier 1

ENSafrica fields a substantial team across its Johannesburg and Cape Town offices. It continues to impress in mergers and inquiries, and the team advised  Sibanye-Stillwater on the merger filing aspects of its acquisition of Lonmin. It also represented several parties in the Competition Commission's investigation into the South African private healthcare sector. The team is 'client centric', 'commercially astute' and has 'strong technical competence'. Mark Garden, Justin Balkin and Jocelyn Katz are among its most recognised practitioners, along with Derushka Chetty, Natalia Lopes and economist Lizel Blignaut. Senior associate Aziza Mdee is also noted.

Employment Tier 1

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 HarrisonPeter 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.

Mining Tier 1

ENSafrica has one of the most rounded mining practices in South Africa. From mining law to mining M&A and mine health and safety, the firm is at the forefront of the industry. It advised Sibanye Gold on its $2.7bn cross-border acquisition of Stillwater, a transaction that transformed the client into a genuine global mining giant. The firm's chief operating officer Otsile Matlou is a leading mining law specialist with a fine record across sub-Saharan Africa. Lloyd Christie has a fine reputation in environmental and regulatory matters and Willem le Roux has unrivalled experience in mine occupational health and safety. Ian Hayes is a leader in mining M&A.

Projects and infrastructure Tier 1

ENSafrica is increasingly active across the continent, including in Namibia, Zimbabwe, Ghana and Mozambique. The firm is noted for greenfield mining, renewable energy, gas-to-power, and infrastructure and PPP projects. The team advised Ledjadja Coal on the development and financing of a coal handling and processing plant. Eric le Grange is 'a calm and collected lawyer' and John Ferraz is recommended for projects in Lusophone jurisdictions. Loren Tibshraeny has exceptional project document expertise.

Tax Tier 1

ENSafrica has a sizeable team with a leading presence across the tax sector. It continues to earn accolades for its international tax and transfer pricing expertise. The group advised Credit Suisse on the tax aspects of it establishing a platform for institutional investors to invest in convertible notes. The hugely experienced Peter Dachs is 'a nice guy and very competent'. Beric Croome and Robert Gad are also highly rated. Andries Myburgh 'has excellent in-depth knowledge and experience in the mining tax' and 'makes himself available at short notice'.

Construction Tier 2

ENSafrica is noted for both contentious and non-contentious work, with the firm achieving growth in representing employers and sub-contractors in disputes and advising on the construction aspects of coal-fired power stations and renewable energy projects in South Africa and across the continent; Ghana, Rwanda and Zimbabwe are key jurisdictions for the team. It advised Anglo American and a subsidiary on the coal and water supply agreements (including EPC contract and O&M agreement) for the Khanyisa Power Plant. Loren Tibshraeny leads on front-end construction and EPC documentation, while leading litigator and advocate Armando Aguiar has a construction disputes focus, including international arbitration proceedings. Director Rob Scott was a new arrival from Clyde & Co LLP in 2019.

Dispute resolution Tier 2

ENSafrica added leading banking and financial services litigation expertise to its offering through the hire of Aslam Moosajee from Norton Rose Fulbright. The practice continues to be at the forefront of class actions, including silicosis cases, thanks to the presence of Sue Hayes, and is further building its standing in regulatory disputes and transfer-pricing cases. A John Zieff-led team acted for Lewis Stores in a case before the National Consumer Tribunal regarding club fees and extended maintenance warranties. George van Niekerk and Armando Aguiar are big-name litigators, with the latter feted for his advocacy skills. Deon Lambert is a key name for construction disputes.

Intellectual property Tier 2

ENSafrica manages the IP portfolios of an increasing number of blue-chip clients, including MTN Group, Hilton Hotels, Bloomberg and Sanlam. It recently advised Hilton Hotels on the strategic protection, maintenance and enforcement of its trade mark portfolio across Africa. Known for its transactional and commercial expertise, the firm has further expanded its pharmaceutical client base and is building its patent credibility. The team is 'prompt and efficient', has 'exceptional depth of knowledge and experience' and 'brings value to discussions'. Gaelyn Scott heads the department, which includes commercial IP specialist Waldo Steyn and patent expert Rowan Forster. Ilse du Plessis heads the trade mark prosecution team.

Real estate Tier 2

ENSafrica continues to impress in acquisitions, disposals and development projects. The firm is praised for its 'attention to detail', regular updates and 'fantastic paralegal support'. It advised Zwelabantu Dube Community Property Association, as the landowner, on the development of the mixed-use Blythedale Coastal Resort. Andrew Bembridge, Fritz Schulz and Len Vorster are key names, along with Lee-Anne Hopley whose 'attention to detail, knowledge of the field and inclination to go the extra mile is a stand-out factor'.

Shipping and transport Tier 2

ENSafrica has an outstanding shipping, maritime and aviation finance practice, with an especially strong record in marine insurance, casualty and cargo arrest matters. It has 'a team of top-class attorneys' led by Tony Norton, 'a well-versed and respected member of the maritime industry'. Michael Tucker led the team that advised Time Charterers on MV Smart, which grounded and was wrecked at Richards Bay. Kate Pitman is another leading maritime lawyer and Sean Lederman is recommended for aviation finance. Senior associate Jacqui Kaufmann is also noted.

Investment funds Tier 3

ENSafrica continues to develop its position in collective investment schemes and hedge funds. It is also active in private equity fund structuring and investments in private equity funds by institutional investors. Clients include Absa, Capitalworks, Citadel, Government Institution Pension Fund – Namibia, and Old Mutual. Johan Loubser has 'a great grasp of the law, the developments and market practices' and 'his advice is always clear and to the point'.

The firm: ENSafrica is Africa’s largest law firm, with over 600 practitioners, and more than 200 years of experience in high-level, complex commercial work. The firm’s focus is on what’s best for the client and striving for excellence, in both offering and service. ENSafrica is committed to providing clients with cost-effective outcomes by ensuring work is done at the right level, and in the manner that best suits clients’ preferences and pricing structures.

While many recognise the unique opportunities for trade, investment and growth that Africa represents, predicting in-country and across-region risks is not easy, particularly given the rate of exponential change impacting multiple indicators, whether economic, political, technological or social. ENSafrica is an independent law firm with fully integrated offices across Southern, West and East Africa and Mauritius. The firm offers clients many years’ accumulated know-how and solid experience, whether doing business in-country or cross-continent, helping to minimise risk and leverage business opportunities across Africa.

ENSafrica has lawyers qualified to practise English, French and OHADA law, as well as practitioners who are fluent in African and international languages, including Mandarin, Cantonese, French, Portuguese and Swahili. The firm also has a dedicated Asia practice group.

Through the financial services centre of Mauritius, ENSafrica also offers a unique possibility to integrate all aspects of structuring clients’ investments in relation to all commercial areas of law, tax, IP and fiduciary.

Recent work:

  • Advising Barclays Africa Group Limited on its complex and high-profile GB£765m separation from Barclays plc, which spans the United Kingdom and ten African countries.
  • Acted as lead counsel to leading African communications company Vodacom Group Limited in its transformative cross-border acquisition of a 34.94% indirect interest in the premier East African telecommunications operator, Safaricom Limited, valued at ZAR35bn.
  • Advised Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (“AB InBev”) on its US£106bn acquisition of the entire issued share capital of SABMiller plc, which triggered merger notification obligations in a number of jurisdictions globally, including Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Swaziland and Zambia.
  • Advising Southern African FMCG giant Tiger Brands Limited on the strategic protection, maintenance and enforcement of its 2 000+ trade marks and other IP assets across 95 jurisdictions.
  • Acting for investment companies First Global Funds Limited PCC and Weston International Asset Recovery Company Limited in a US$829- lawsuit, believed to be the largest in Mauritian courts to date and which forms part of one of the biggest fraud cases in the African/Asian region.
  • Advised energy and commodities company Vitol Upstream Ghana Ltd and its parent company on the development and financing of the Offshore Cape Three Points integrated oil and gas facility and the sale of gas. This US$7.6bn project is, arguably, the biggest gas investment in the West African sub-region.
  • Acting as lead South African legal advisor to global precious metal mining group Sibanye Gold Limited in its US$2.65bn transformative cross-border acquisition of NYSE-listed Stillwater Mining Company, the only United States PGM miner.
  • Advised the largest non-food retailer in South Africa, the Edcon Group, on its complex ZAR28bn debt restructure, which involved operations in several African jurisdictions.
Department Name Email Telephone
Corporate commercial/M&A
Banking and finance
Capital markets: debt and equity
Infrastructure, project development and project finance
Regulatory: anti-trust/competition, mining, health and safety, and environment
Photo Name Position Profile
Ms Letitia Field  photo Ms Letitia Field
Mr Wade Graaff  photo Mr Wade Graaff
Ms Era Gunning  photo Ms Era Gunning
Number of lawyers : 400+
Other offices : Accra
Other offices : Cape Town
Other offices : Dar es Salaam
Other offices : Durban
Other offices : Kampala
Other offices : Kigali
Other offices : Port Louis
Other offices : Stellenbosch
Other offices : Swakopmund
Other offices : Walvis Bay
Other offices : Windhoek