Firm Profile > Bowmans > Johannesburg, South Africa

South Africa

Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 1

Bowmans continues to be at the forefront of cross-border M&A, with a number of mandates coming from foreign investors. The practice is a growing force in Africa cross-border deals, thanks in part to its mounting number of offices throughout the continent. Private equity is another key forte for the prestigious team, and in addition the firm has worked on a series of headline FMCG deals. Ezra Davids and Charles Douglas are leading figures in cross-border M&A involving South African entities, while John Bellew is hugely experienced in private equity deals and strategic M&A.

Practice head(s):

Ashleigh Hale; Ezra Davids; Charles Douglas; Tholinhlanhla Gcabashe

Other key lawyers:

John Bellew; Charles Young

Key clients

The South African Breweries, Anheuser-busch InBev and SAB Zenzele Kabili Holdings

Harmony Gold Mining Company



Kwande Capital Proprietary

RMB Holdings

RMB Ventures Seven and BoE Private Equity Investments

Peermont Group

Link Market Services

CNA Operations Proprietary

Competition Tier 1

Bowmans has continued to cement its market leading position in South Africa and Africa-wide competition matters and has strongly focused on developing key relationships with competition regulators around Africa. It is also at the forefront of merger control, tapping into the firm's outstanding record in cross-border M&A. Derek Lötter co-heads the practice alongside Tamara Dini in Cape Town, and has a formidable record in big-ticket competition matters and is highly rated across the continent; he led the team that represented PepsiCo in its acquisition of Johannesburg-listed Pioneer Food Group, a deal that required notification in multiple jurisdictions, including in South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria and to the COMESA Competition Commission. Claire Reidy is a key figure in cartel and abuse of dominance cases, while Heather Irvine is another prominent name in the market.

Practice head(s):

Derek Lötter; Tamara Dini

Other key lawyers:

Claire Reidy; Heather Irvine; Richard Bryce


‘Outstanding legal advice is to be expected from a top legal firm, but it was the proactive, hands-on engagement of the Bowmans antitrust team throughout a protracted and complex antitrust process, which really stood out. ’

‘The Bowmans team was very responsive to tight timelines and provided good practical advice. They stand out from other firms on both counts.’

‘They have great coverage of South Africa issues, but also of other African countries. They provide very reliable advice and great responsiveness. They are the go-to firm for African filings. ’

‘Derek Lotter has deep experience and a practical perspective.’

‘Tamara Dini is great to work with. She delivers clear advice and is responsive. She is highly recommended. ’

‘Richard Bryce was outstanding. His understanding of the legal issues, management of complex situations and judgement are impressive, but it is his energy, dedication and client care which really set him apart.’

Key clients


Coca-Cola Beverages Africa

Elanco Animal Health

Isanti Glass 1

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles


Outotec Ovi and Metso Oyj

The Minister of Trade Industry and Competition

Coca-Cola Beverages


Barrick Gold Corporation

Rhône Capital

Employment Tier 1

Bowmans has one of the largest teams in the market, furnished with some of the most experienced employment specialists in South Africa. The team has experienced growth in transactions, investigations and employee risk issues, and has added executive compensation specialist Martin Hopkins to the Johannesburg group. Robin Carr is a prominent figure in employment litigation, Graham Damant is hugely experienced in the management of industrial relations, restructuring and retrenchments, transfers of business and dismissals. Karen Fulton is a recognised expert on labour law the financial services industry contexts and Cape Town's Chris Todd is at the forefront of business transfers and collective bargaining.

Practice head(s):

Lusanda Raphulu

Other key lawyers:

Martin Hopkins; Robin Carr; Graham Damant; Karen Fulton; Chris Todd; Talita Laubscher


‘Availability and responsiveness, understanding of our business and practical and pragmatic approach.’

‘Availability, knowledge and going the extra mile. Willingness to consider fee reductions.’

‘Very strong employment law team that complement each other. Karen Fulton is my go-to person for employment law advice.’

‘Karen Fulton makes herself available day or night and provides clear and decisive advice.’

Key clients

Old Mutual

Pick n Pay Supply Chain

City of Johannesburg

Anglo American Platinum

Alexander Forbes

National Bargaining Council for the Road Freight and Logistics Industry



UNISA (University of South Africa)

Projects and infrastructure Tier 1

Bowmans has a large and stable team, offering high levels of specialisation across the projects and infrastructure sphere. The firm has an outstanding record in power and renewables, ports, transport and logistics, and benefits from specialist teams in front-end construction, environmental and regulatory matters. While being at the forefront of the South African market, it has landed a series of headline engagements for projects elsewhere in Africa.  Anton Barnes-Webb and Patrick Hirsch are leading figures in project finance. Andrew van Niekerk provides specialist front-end infrastructure expertise and Daryn Webb has an outstanding record in South African and Africa-wide power and infrastructure projects.

Practice head(s):

Shamilah Grimwood-Norley; Patrick Hirsch; Anton Barnes-Webb; Andrew van Niekerk; Claire Tucker; Andrew Pike

Key clients

Virtus Energy Solutions and Rensource Distributed Energy

Department of Energy (DoE)

FirstRand Bank Ltd (acting through its Rand Merchant Bank Division)

Gigajoule International

Hitachi Limited

Standard Bank of South Africa



MSC Cruises of Geneva and its subsidiary KwaZulu Cruise Terminal

Shipping and transport Tier 1

Bowmans has one of the largest teams in South Africa dedicated to the shipping and transport sector. The group is principally located in Cape Town and Durban, and has seen further growth in aviation following the arrival of Heather Manson to the Johannesburg office in 2019; aviation specialist Claudia Jackson also joined from Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc in 2020. Shipping expert and department head Craig Cunningham is at the forefront of the sector, acting on numerous landmark disputes, including headline casualty cases. Andrew Pike has emerged as a leading force in ports and terminals work, including advising on the proposed Durban Cruise Terminal. Mark van Velden is a leader in charterparty matters and Jeremy Prain is a rounded and versatile shipping specialist.

Practice head(s):

Craig Cunningham

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Pike; Jeremy Prain; Mark van Velden


‘Responsive, human, personable, knowledgeable, commercial, professional and a practical approach. ’

‘Jeremy Prain is always responsive, commercial and helpful. He helps to ensure assistance in multiple African jurisdictions.’ 

‘Jeremy Prain is very user-friendly, experienced, commercially-minded and responsive.’

‘Mark van Velden is experienced in shipping matter. He is approachable and sensible with a pragmatic approach to problems.’

Key clients


Credit Suisse Group

Credit Europe Bank

North of England P&I Club

Watson, Farley & Williams

UK P&I Club (aka Thomas Miller)


Ince & Co


Reed Smith

MUR Shipping

The Charterers P&I Club

Banking and finance Tier 2

Bowmans remains a formidable player in the South African banking and finance market. It continues to be at the forefront of acquisition finance, major corporate restructurings and other mainstream conventional financings, and has achieved greater prominence in growth segments such as sustainable finance. The firm frequently represents South Africa's biggest lenders, numerous blue-chip corporates and a number of state-owned enterprises. Structured bonds and bank funding are also fortes for the team. Ulrike Naumann leads the team, which includes preference share funding specialist Jan Kruger and Jason Wilkinson, who has extensive domestic and cross-border financing expertise. Jackie Leggett is recommended for leveraged finance. Senior figure Mark Kyle joined from Webber Wentzel in October 2020.

Practice head(s):

Ulrike Naumann; Shamilah Grimwood-Norley; Casper van Heerden; David Geral; Patrick Hirsch; Craig Schafer

Other key lawyers:

Jan Kruger; Jason Wilkinson; Jackie Leggett


‘Bowmans has direct representation in various countries which provides the team with the benefit of including local counsel services into their offering.’

‘Very professional and diligent. ’

Key clients

FirstRand Bank


Anheuser-Busch InBev

ARC Fund

Royal Bafokeng Platinum and Royal Bafokeng Resources

Bank Windhoek

Rand Merchant Bank

Standard Bank of South Africa


Motus Holdings, Motus Capital, Motus Corporation Proprietary and Motus Group

Capitec Bank

Investec Bank

Trafigura Group

AfriSam Group

Dispute resolution Tier 2

Bowmans operates a sizeable team spread across its Johannesburg and Cape Town offices. The department is split into highly specialised groups, focused on key areas such as commercial disputes, class action cases, restructuring litigation and shareholder disputes. Public law cases are another forte for the team and international arbitration is another growth area. Tim Gordon-Grant is highly rated for big-ticket commercial disputes, Adam Anderson is noted for class actions and Cape Town's James McKinnell is recognised for restructuring-related and financial services cases. Employment disputes specialist Chris Todd leads the team.

Practice head(s):

Chris Todd

Other key lawyers:

im Gordon-Grant; Adam Anderson; James McKinnell


‘The team is multi-disciplinary in that each member brings in his/her specialty. They have a unique ability to work as a team while making in-house legal advisors an integral part of the team.’

‘The team was very firm in protecting the interests of the client, even where it risked their own popularity as a law firm. ’

Key clients

AB InBev (South African Breweries)

Brite Advisors South Africa

De Beers

Government of Lesotho

Marabu Natursteinhandel

Old Mutual

Termico Proprietary

Pepkor Holdings

The Standard Bank of South Africa


Investment funds Tier 2

Bowmans has a fast-developing funds structuring practice for Africa-focused private equity funds. The fund formation team is tightly integrated with the tax group, notably Wally Horak in Cape Town, a prominent figure in private equity tax structuring. The firm's increasing presence across Africa has afforded it greater knowledge and experience in regulatory considerations for funds. John Bellew leads the private equity sector group; he handles a strong flow of both fund formation and transactions and is close to a range of South African and international private equity houses. Cape Town partner Joshua Janks provides further senior level experience in private equity funds.

Practice head(s):

John Bellew; Wally Horak


‘The team, headed by John Bellew, has deep history and experience in fund formation.’

‘John Bellew has been a leader in fund formation for many years. He is a skilled negotiator and drives a transaction to a close.’

‘John Bellew is utterly reliable, provides quick turnarounds, and is always available for consultations even at short notice.’

Key clients

Sanari Capital

Knife Capital

Phatisa Fund Managers

Trinitas Private Equity

Mphande Property Fund Managers

SAsfin Private Equity

Rockwood Private Equity

Kasada Capital

International Housing Solutions

SummerPlace General Partners


4D Innovative Capital

Ascension Capital Partners

Evolution II GP (Mauritius) Holdings

Exeo Fund Advisors

Tax Tier 2

Bowmans has significantly expanded its team in recent years, resulting in a multi-skilled and versatile team. With both lawyers and accountants in the group, it continues to impress in M&A and private equity-related tax matters, while being more than credible in disputes, international tax and debt restructuring. The group represents a multitude of international clients, prominent domestic businesses and a range of private equity houses. Barry Garven has a fine record in international tax, transactions and financings, while Wally Horak is a key name in international tax, including cross-border M&A and transfer pricing. Managing partner Alan Keep remains prominent in transaction structuring and corporate reorganisations. Patricia Williams is further noted for disputes and transactional work.

Practice head(s):

Barry Garven; Wally Horak

Other key lawyers:

Alan Keep; Patricia Williams; Kelly Wright

Key clients

AfriSam (South Africa)

African Rainbow Capital

The South African Breweries and its parent Anheuser-Busch InBev

Rand Merchant Holdings


Cisco South Africa

Carlyle Sub Sahara Africa Fund

South32 SA Holdings

Royal Bafokeng Resources Platinum

Harmony Gold Mining


Bell Equipment


Ascendis Health

Construction Tier 3

Bowmans has a well established front-end and contentious construction practice that has achieved significant market share in South Africa and across the continent. The firm has a healthy mix of infrastructure, energy, mining and transport-related engagements. The firm has impressed in a series of headline infrastructure projects in South Africa and beyond, including the Beitbridge Border Post modernisation PPP project in Zimbabwe. Andrew van Niekerk is a leader in front-end construction in South Africa and in other African jurisdictions. Tumisang Mongae is an experienced figure in contentious construction, while Stephanie McDonald is another key non-contentious specialist. Spencer Naicker departed for Russell McVeagh in New Zealand.

Practice head(s):

Andrew van Niekerk; Tumisang Mongae; Lize-Mere Ludick; Stephanie McDonald


‘The practice has capable depth and can ensure support at all times.’

‘Excellent knowledge of the construction field and industry-specific construction contracts. Availability and knowledge of professional staff, cost effective billing and value for money.’

‘Excellent knowledge, good working relationship, availability, always meets deadlines.’

‘Stephanie McDonald has broad experience with construction contracting globally, and has a pragmatic and easy-to-understand manner of dealing with clients and contractors.’

Key clients

Virtus Energy Solutions and Rensource Distributed Energy


ELB Engineering Services

Tenova Mining and Minerals

MSC Cruises



Mining Tier 3

Bowmans  continues to impress in mining sector corporate transactions, and is also an emerging player in mining regulatory, environmental law and health and safety matters. Charles Young leads the team and has a fine record in mining sector M&A for clients such as Harmony Gold Mining, Rio Tinto and African Rainbow Minerals. The regulatory and environmental side of the practice is led by Wandisile Mandlana and Claire Tucker. Jason Wilkinson is recommended for mining finance.

Practice head(s):

Charles Young

Other key lawyers:

Wandisile Mandlana; Claire Tucker; Jason Wilkinson 


‘The team is diverse and has a generational mix that results in extraordinary value creation.’

‘Wandisile Mandlana has continuously outdone himself. He has an exceptional ability to apply rigid legal principles to complex commercial scenarios. He is attentive and thinks ‘outside the box’. He is client-orientated and dependable.’

Key clients

Africa Barrick Gold (now Acacia)

African Rainbow Minerals

Anglo American (and associated operations)

AngloGold Ashanti

Barrick Gold Corporation (Canada)

Caledonia Mining Corporation

Dodsal Resources FZCO


Eurasian Resources Group

Harmony Gold



Merafe Resources


Northam Platinum


Puma Energy

Rio Tinto

Royal Bafokeng Platinum

Shanduka Resources


The Tanzanian National Development Corporation


Trans Hex Group

Wogen Pacific


Real estate Tier 3

Bowmans represents a large number of banks, developers, and listed and unlisted property funds, in financing acquisitions, disposals and the development of commercial, industrial and retail real estate in South Africa and beyond. It has an extensive record in lease and development lease agreements for both landlords and tenants, and frequently conducts real estate due diligence investigations linked to corporate transactions. Department head Craig Schafer and Samantha Saffy are highly rated for development, investment and financing engagements.

Practice head(s):

Craig Schafer

Other key lawyers:

Samantha Saffy; Julia Power

Key clients

African Rainbow Minerals


Massmart Group and Masstores

FirstRand Bank

Crowie Property Developments

Eris Property Group

Royal Bafokeng Platinum



Absa Bank

Frankenwald Development

Bowmans helps its clients overcome legal complexity and unlock opportunity in Africa. Its track record of providing legal services in the fields of corporate law, banking and finance law and dispute resolution, spans over a century.

With over 400 specialist lawyers, Bowmans draws on its unique knowledge of the business and socio-political environment in Africa to advise on a wide range of legal issues.

The firm delivers integrated legal services to clients throughout the continent from eight offices (Cape Town, Dar es Salaam, Durban, Johannesburg, Kampala, Lusaka, Moka and Nairobi) in six countries (Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia).

Everywhere it operates, Bowmans offers its clients a service that uniquely blends expertise in the law, knowledge of the local market, and an understanding of their businesses. The firm’s aim is to assist its clients to achieve their objectives as smoothly and efficiently as possible while minimising the legal and regulatory risks.

Bowmans works closely with its alliance firms, Aman Assefa & Associates Law Office, in Ethiopia, and Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie, in Nigeria. The firm has best friends relationships with PFI Partnerships in Malawi, and Taciana Peão Lopes & Advogados Associados in Mozambique, regularly works with other leading law firms across the rest of Africa, and is a representative of Lex Mundi, a global association with more than 160 independent law firms across the globe.

Clients include corporates, multinationals and state-owned enterprises across a range of industry sectors as well as financial institutions and governments.

Bowmans’ expertise is frequently recognised by independent research organisations. Most recently, Mergermarket identified the firm as the number one legal adviser for Africa by number of completed deals in 2020.

At the inaugural IFLR1000 Awards for Sub-Saharan Africa (2020), Bowmans received ten awards across four jurisdictions confirming its leadership when it comes to advising on multijurisdictional mergers and acquisitions in Africa. At the African Legal Awards (2020), Bowmans won awards in three categories and was highly commended in a further four categories including African Law Firm of the Year – Large Practice.

The firm received awards in three out of four categories at the Dealmakers East Africa Awards (2019): top legal adviser in the M&A Category for both deal flow and deal value and advised on the Deal of the Year. In the Dealmakers South Africa Awards (2020), the firm were placed third for both transaction value and transaction volume in the General Corporate Finance Category and fourth for both deal value and deal volume in the M&A Category.

With more than 300 lawyers and a total staff complement of over 550, Bowmans is widely regarded as one of the leading corporate law firms in South Africa.

Main areas of specialisation:
Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment
Banking and Financial Services Regulatory
Commercial Property
Corporate Services
Data Protection
Dispute Resolution
Employment and Benefits
Environmental Law
Equity Capital Markets
Governance, Compliance and Investigations
Government Contracting and Public Procurement
Intellectual Property
International Arbitration
Litigation and Arbitration
Mergers and Acquisitions
Oil and Gas
Private Equity
Project Finance
Regulatory Services
Shipping, Aviation and Logistics

Main sectors of practice:
Consumer Goods
Financial Institutions
Hotels and Leisure
Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare 
Ports, Transport and Logistics
Technology, Media and Telecommunications

KENYA: Nairobi
T: +254 20 289 9000 Fax: +254 20 289 9100
Contact: Paras Shah – managing partner, Kenya

T: +230 468 8411
Contact: Fazil Hossenkhan – managing partner, Mauritius

T: +27 21 480 7800
Contact: Deon de Klerk – key contact, Cape Town

T: +27 31 265 0651
Contact: Andrew Pike – key contact, Durban

SOUTH AFRICA: Johannesburg
T: + 27 11 669 9000
Contact: Alan Keep – managing partner, the group

TANZANIA: Dar es Salaam
T: +255 76 898 8640
Contact: Wilbert Kapinga – managing partner, Tanzania

UGANDA: Kampala
T: +256 31 226 3757
Contact: Ernest Wiltshire – managing partner, Kampala

ZAMBIA: Lusaka
T: +260 21 135 6638
Contact: Mabvuto Sakala – managing partner, Kampala

Department Name Email Telephone
Managing Partner, Group Alan Keep +27 11 669 9000
Key Contact, Durban Andrew Pike +27 31 265 0651
Key Contact, Cape Town Deon de Klerk +27 21 480 7800
Photo Name Position Profile
 Adam Anderson  photo Adam Anderson
 Anton Barnes-Webb  photo Anton Barnes-Webb
 John Bellew  photo John Bellew
 Richard Bryce photo Richard Bryce
 Robin Carr  photo Robin Carr
 Bwalya Chilufya-Musonda  photo Bwalya Chilufya-Musonda
 Craig Cunningham  photo Craig Cunningham
 Graham Damant  photo Graham Damant
 Ezra Davids  photo Ezra Davids
 Charles Douglas  photo Charles Douglas
 Karen Fulton  photo Karen Fulton
 Barry Garven  photo Barry Garven
 Tholinhlanhla Gcabashe  photo Tholinhlanhla Gcabashe
 Tim Gordon-Grant  photo Tim Gordon-Grant
 Ashleigh Hale photo Ashleigh Hale
 Patrick Hirsch photo Patrick Hirsch
 Martin Hopkins photo Martin Hopkins
 Heather Irvine  photo Heather Irvine
 Claudia Jackson photo Claudia Jackson
 Alan Keep  photo Alan Keep
 Cornelius Kigera  photo Cornelius Kigera
 Derek Lötter  photo Derek Lötter
 Wandisile Mandlana photo Wandisile Mandlana
 Heather Manson  photo Heather Manson
 Evans  Monari  photo Evans  Monari
 Tumisang Mongae photo Tumisang Mongae
 Ulrike Naumann  photo Ulrike Naumann
 Julia Power photo Julia Power
 Christine Rodrigues  photo Christine Rodrigues
 Samantha Saffy photo Samantha Saffy
 Mabvuto Sakala  photo Mabvuto Sakala
 Craig Schafer  photo Craig Schafer
 Claire Tucker  photo Claire Tucker
 Andrew Van Niekerk photo Andrew Van Niekerk
 Daryn Webb  photo Daryn Webb
 Jason Wilkinson  photo Jason Wilkinson
 Patricia Williams  photo Patricia Williams
 Kelly  Wright  photo Kelly  Wright
 Charles Young  photo Charles Young
Total staff : 800+
Lawyers : 400+
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