Our Team2018-07-16T08:13:03+00:00

Meet the team:

Nobanzi Madikizela-Nyati of Cowan-Harper-Madikizela Attorneys
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Nobanzi Madikizela-Nyati

Nobanzi Madikizela-Nyati is a Partner in the Public Law, Risk, Governance and Compliance Department at Cowan-Harper-Madikizela Attorneys. Nobanzi is also the firm’s Chairperson.

Nobanzi’s professional career as an attorney spans over 15 years as a commercial litigator. Nobanzi commenced her professional career as an associate at Webber Wentzel Bowens (WWB). After a short stint at WWB, she left with the employment law team to start an employment law department at Sonnenburg Hoffman Galombik (now Edward Nathan Sonnenberg) where she gained extensive experience in all aspects of collective and individual labour law.

Before joining Cowan-Harper-Madikizela Attorneys, Nobanzi was the Managing Director at Madikizela Nyati Attorneys (MNA), where she specialised in commercial litigation. At MNA, she also developed a keen interest in public administrative law, public procurement, risk, governance and compliance.

Nobanzi has both defended and challenged administrative judicial reviews on behalf of her clients and has achieved exceptional success rates. She advises on, inter alia, governance, public procurement, preparation and adjudication of bids, legal audits and regulatory law disputes. She has also been involved in various large-scale forensic investigations from a legal compliance perspective, working together with forensic investigators. Her vast experience in drafting and reviewing of commercial agreements coupled with her experience in commercial litigation adds value to any forensic investigation or legal audit that she is involved in, ensuring that from a quality management perspective, the findings arising from such investigations and recommendations are legally sustainable.

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Lennard Cowan

Lennard is the Head of the Commercial Litigation Department and has practised law since 1981. His main area of speciality has been Commercial Litigation. He has vast experience in matters both large and small in the areas of company law, contractual disputes, collections and any type of dispute where there is a monetary value or legal right which is the subject of litigation. Lennard has conducted matters for values in excess of R2 billion in the International Court of Arbitration which is based in Paris. He has conducted various other litigious matters in arbitration fora and courts throughout the world including in China, the United States of America, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

In South Africa, he has conducted practice in the lower courts and the High Courts, the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court. His list of clients are both large multinational corporates, South African corporates and South African small businesses and individuals. He has over the last 30 years developed an extensive network of associate law firms, experts and other skills required for the most effective resolution of any litigious matter.

Rod Harper of Cowan-Harper-Madikizela Attorneys
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Rod Harper

Rod is the Head of the Employment Law, Benefit, Industrial Relations and Discrimination Department of Cowan-Harper-Madikizela.

In addition to being a highly experienced employment law litigator, Rod acts as a strategic advisor on employment law and industrial relations issues to many companies and on occasions, has also acted as a lead negotiator and facilitator.

Over many years he has been rated by international publications as one of the leading Employment Attorneys in South Africa. Rod is a member of the Labour Law Committee of the International Bar Association.

Rod established and headed the Employment Law Department of Webber Wentzel and thereafter for a period headed the Employment Law Division, Johannesburg of Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs.

He has successfully dealt with thousands of cases including disputes on industry and company level strikes and disputes on many other issues. He has recently been directly involved in persuading the Labour Court to issue orders converting protected strikes into unprotected strikes. He has innovative views on remedies in response to industrial action.

Rod has been involved in more than 100 reported cases which have shaped and developed South African Employment Law. These cases have protected and developed the rights and interests of employers. Cases including Comair / DOL on the application of the Employment Equity Act, the Siemens case on restraints of trade, the Simba case on transfers of undertakings, the recent First National case on managerial misconduct and many others.

Rod has been invited to lecture at Conferences of the International Bar Association on diverse issues such as discrimination, harassment and restraints of trade. He has also lectured publicly on many occasions. His clients include major corporations, most of whom have instructed him for many years. He acts nationally for many companies. He has acted for “rock & roll” stars, leading sportsmen and represents senior executives, amongst others.

He has a developed interest in the legal and industrial relations aspects of collective bargaining, industrial action and conflict resolution. He has had extensive interactions with Unions such as NUM, NUMSA, AMCU and BCAWU. He has written articles on the subject and has given many lectures including ones given at leading universities.

Kerry Gantley of Cowan-Harper-Madikizela Attorneys
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Kerry Gantley

Kerry is a Partner in the Employment Law, Benefits, Industrial Relations and Discrimination Department of Cowan-Harper-Madikizela Attorneys and has been practising law for 16 years.

She is an experienced employment law and commercial law attorney with corporate experience, which gives her a strategic, practical and sound business approach to employment law and related issues.

Kerry practised law for six years before joining a financial services company where she established and grew a legal & company secretarial department over 8 years. She held the position of Group Chief Legal Advisor and Company Secretary reporting to the Chief Executive Officer. Kerry’s areas of responsibility included the management of legal advisors responsible for specific legal areas. These included High court and Magistrate court litigation; commercial contracts; compliance; employment law; and other legal disciplines necessary for the effective operation of a group of companies with diverse business models.

Kerry has guided the legal process during major corporate restructures and advised on the employment law implications in mergers and acquisitions. She has run many major employment cases involving a diverse range of employment issues and has vast experience in drafting and implementing innovative employment procedures and policies.

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Neil Coetzer

Neil Coetzer is a Partner in the Employment Law, Benefits, Industrial Relations and Unfair Discrimination Department of Cowan-Harper-Madikizela Attorneys. He joined the firm in 2009 after obtaining both his LLB and LLM degrees from the University of Pretoria.

Neil specializes in employment law and industrial relations and advises clients across various industries including civil engineering, construction, metals, banking, FMCG, mining, aviation, pharmaceuticals, tolling and logistics.

He has extensive experience in employment law disputes and has litigated successfully in various Courts and tribunals, including the Labour Appeal Court, Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court. His involvement in numerous high profile and reported Court cases has helped to shape, develop and clarify various contentious aspects of employment law in South Africa.

Neil’s areas of interest and expertise include collective labour law and particularly strike law, restructuring exercises, collective bargaining and community involvement at the workplace. He has had extensive interactions with many Unions, including NUMSA, AMCU, NUM and SATAWU, and has also assisted clients with constructive relationship building exercises which are geared towards avoiding disputes or resolving them at an early stage.

Neil is also an accomplished researcher and regularly publishes articles and opinions in various news media and academic journals. In 2017 he was appointed as a Research Fellow by the University of the Free State.

Jayson Kent for Cowan-Harper-Madikizela Attorneys
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Jayson Kent

Jayson joined the firm as a Senior Associate in the Employment Law, Benefits, Industrial Relations and Discrimination Department in December 2016. Jayson is a member of the Labour Court’s pro bono project, which is facilitated by the South African Society of Labour Lawyers.

Jayson studied at the University of Johannesburg, completing his B.Com (Law) and LL.B degrees, and was admitted as an Attorney of the High Court in 2012.

Jayson specialises in employment law litigation and he has a keen interest in both collective and individual labour law. Jayson has gained extensive experience in collective bargaining disputes and strike law. He has been involved in several reported and high-profile Labour Court, Labour Appeal Court and Constitutional Court cases which have developed various legal aspects of the right to strike and collective bargaining.

Jayson is closely involved in advising clients – including employers and executive-level employees – on a broad range of disciplinary and other employment law related issues, including section 197 transfers and restraints of trade, and has been involved in a large number of retrenchment matters. Jayson also has extensive experience in chairing disciplinary hearings, having chaired many hearings over the course of his career.

Tanya Mulligan of Cowan-Harper-Madikizela Attorneys
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Tanya Mulligan

Tanya is a Senior Associate in the Employment Law, Benefits, Industrial Relations and Discrimination Department.

Tanya has a Master’s degree with a specialization in Mercantile Law from the University of Pretoria and a Certificate in Advanced Labour Law from the University of South Africa. Prior to joining the firm in 2015, Tanya lectured at Varsity College and the University of Pretoria.

Tanya has a wealth of experience in commercial and employment-related litigation and has also been involved in numerous reported Judgments. Tanya consciously adopts a problem-solving approach when resolving disputes with the aim of offering cost-effective and pragmatic solutions to her clients.

Shahnaaz Bismilla of Cowan-Harper-Madikizela Attorneys
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Shahnaaz Bismilla

Shahnaaz is a Senior Associate in the Employment Law, Benefits, Industrial Relations and Discrimination Department.  She joined the firm during November 2015 and specialises in employment law, industrial relations and employee benefits.  Shahnaaz began her career in employment law as a Judge’s Associate in the Labour Court.   After some time in practice, Shahnaaz joined Deloitte as a manager in the employment law division, where she obtained invaluable experience practising law from a business perspective.  She subsequently ran her own practice providing corporate employment law services to select clients.

Shahnaaz has a special interest in workplace discrimination law and assists clients to manage issues of discrimination in the workplace including the management of disability, which is increasingly becoming an area of risk for employers.  Social Media in the context of employment is also a key area of focus for Shahnaaz who is experienced in the development and implementation of appropriate social media strategies to minimise reputational risk.

With postgraduate qualifications in labour law, pension law and a Master’s degree in corporate law, Shahnaaz is well placed to provide specialist advice on employment law and related matters.

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James Horn

James was appointed as an Associate of the firm during February 2016, after completing his articles of clerkship. He holds a B.A. Honours Degree (Political Studies and Philosophy) from Rhodes University and an LLB Degree from the University of Johannesburg.

James has been involved in several high-profile matters in the Labour Court and High Court inter alia relating to unprotected strikes, restraints of trade, equal work for equal pay and intra-union disputes. James also has experience in employment law disputes and urgent applications in other African jurisdictions including Lesotho.

Nastassya Naudé for Cowan-Harper-Madikizela Attorneys
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Nastassya Naudé

Nastassya is an Associate in the Commercial Litigation Department. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree at Rhodes University during 2009 and LLB from the University of South Africa in 2015.

Nastassya has gained commercial experience in the Training and Development Industry, as well as in the Financial Sector. Prior to commencing her articles, Nastassya spent two years in the Insurance Industry, during which time she obtained her RE 5 FAIS Certificate.

Nastassya has a keen interest in general corporate and commercial litigation.

Mbulelo Ndlovu of Cowan-Harper-Madikizela Attorneys
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Mbulelo Ndlovu

Mbulelo is an Associate in the Public Law, Risk, Governance and Compliance Department. She completed her articles at Madikizela Nyati Attorneys and was admitted as an attorney in April 2018. With the formation of Cowan-Harper-Madikizela Attorneys in July 2018, Mbulelo retained her role as an Associate. Mbulelo has an LLB degree from the University of Johannesburg and she is currently completing her LLM degree specializing in Corporate Law with the University of South Africa.

Mbulelo assists clients in commercial litigation matters and also has a developed interest in administrative law with a particular emphasis on public procurement, governance, administrative judicial reviews and data protection law.

Jessica Fox of Cowan-Harper-Madikizela Attorneys
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Jessica Fox

Jessica joined the firm in 2017 as a Candidate Attorney in the Employment Law, Benefits, Industrial Relations and Discrimination Department. Jessica obtained B.Com (Law) and LLB degrees from the University of Pretoria in 2013 and 2015 respectively.

Jessica is in the process of completing her LLM degree with specialization in Mercantile Law through the University of Pretoria and has a keen interest in Banking Law.

A picture of Nala of Cowan-Harper-Madikizela Attorneys
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Manala Rabothata

Manala Rabothata joined the firm as a Candidate Attorney in November 2017, in the Employment Law, Benefits, Industrial Relations and Discrimination Department. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree specialising in political science and her LLB degree at the University of Witwatersrand in 2013 and 2017 respectively.

Manala has a keen interest in employment law, particularly discrimination disputes, social media and litigation.

Thato Matloko of Cowan Harper Attorneys
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Thato Matloko

Thato joined the firm in January 2018 in the Employment Law, Benefits, Industrial Relations and Discrimination Department.

Thato obtained her LLB Degree at the University of the Free State in 2018 and has a keen interest in employment law, particularly the alternative dispute resolution and social media aspects thereof.

Thato Matloko of Cowan Harper Attorneys
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Nonkululeko Zitha

Nonkululeko joined Madikizela Nyati Attorneys in March 2018 after completing an LLB degree from the University of Limpopo. She commenced her articles after the formation of Cowan- Harper- Madikizela Attorneys in July 2018 and is a Candidate Attorney in the firm’s Public Law, Risk, Governance and Compliance Department.

Nonkululeko has a keen interest in commercial and corporate law, public administrative law and procurement, compliance and governance.