IEL Elite


Eminent regional player



Bowmans’ employment and benefits practice is spread across eight offices in Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

Helen Wilsenach, who was promoted to head of department in March 2022, along with mathematician and computer scientist Martin Hopkins, who leads the rewards and compensation practice, are key points of contact in Johannesburg.

The department is able to service clients across countries where it has offices, as well as beyond, owing to its network of international contacts, including in Ethiopia and Nigeria. Notably, in October 2021, it joined a non-exclusive alliance with French powerhouse Gide Loyrette to bolster its capabilities in Francophone Africa. Meanwhile, the firm is also the Mauritian and South African members of the Employment Law Alliance.


The team is adept at taking on a variety of business-critical advisory and litigious mandates, including employee classification, and incentives.

The group regularly works alongside colleagues in the M&A team to assist with commercial reorganisations and transactions, including on employee transfers.

The department offers notable skill in investigating employee misconduct claims, including those relating to senior executives. As part of this, the team represents clients in disciplinary hearings and unfair dismissal claims.

In addition, members of the group are experienced in acting on highly publicised court cases. For example, a team led by Nadine Mather in Johannesburg represented the Public Servants of South Africa Association in a public sector wage dispute against the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

The union sought the enforcement of a three-year collective agreement relating to year-on-year salary increases between 2019-20 and 2021-22. Although SARS had implemented the salary increases for the first two years, it had not for 2021-22.

A further notable mandate in this space was advice by the team in Nairobi to Uber Kenya on a case filed by a driver who argued they were an employee and thus entitled to work injury insurance coverage.

The team is also regularly instructed on disputes against unions. This was demonstrated in the defence of a major South African retailer against a union claim of indirect discrimination relating to the payment of a Sunday premium to certain employees.

Other areas of activity include mandatory vaccination policies, within which partner Talita Laubscher has advised a number of domestic and multinational clients.


  • Barloworld Logistics Africa
  • South African Breweries
  • Swiss-South African
    Co-operation Initiative
  • Financial Sector
    Conduct Authority
  • Roche Kenya
  • Coca-Cola Beverages Africa
  • Hatch South Africa
  • Pick n Pay Retailers
  • Nestlé 
  • Standard Bank

Other key names

  • Lenja Dahms-Jansen
    (South Africa)
  • Rosalind Davey
    (South Africa)
  • Rainbow Field (Kenya)
  • Karen Fulton (South Africa)
  • Randall Van Voore
    (South Africa)
  • Khomotso Makapane
    (South Africa)
  • Terry Mwango (Kenya)
  • Henry Ngcobo (South Africa)
  • Keshni Pillay (South Africa)
  • Mendel Sass (South Africa)
  • Chris Todd (South Africa)
  • Jerry Kaapu (South Africa)
  • Ernest Wiltshire (Uganda)

Experts based in...

Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

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