Public Sector Law

Legislative drafting

Our directors have been centrally involved in the drafting of new legislation and re-drafting old legislation since 1994. We are one of few firms in South Africa that has developed extensive experience in the plain language drafting of legislation and apply the principles of plain language to all our drafting work. We also have extensive experience in drafting regulations, codes of practice and other subordinate legislation.
Some of the major national laws that our lawyers have been involved in drafting include:

  • the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa
  • the Labour Relations Act
  • the Mine Health and Safety Act
  • the South African Schools Act
  • the Basic Conditions of Employment Act
  • the Higher Education Act
  • the Non-profit Organisations Act
  • the Employment Equity Act
  • the Competition Act
  • the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act
  • the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act
  • the Special Economic Zones Act

Our drafting experience covers a wide range of fields, including labour market, trade and industry, education and skills development, finance and economic development, land and social security. Our lawyers have drafted legislative instruments at national, provincial and local government levels in South Africa and at regional and international level.

Constitutional law

The firm provides comprehensive legal services in respect of constitutional law, including constitutional law opinions and litigation in both private and public matters and the drafting of legislation in accordance with the Constitution. Our directors have expertise in the interface between constitutional law and other areas of law and regulatory activity including, employment, education and training, competition, media, telecommunications, social security and trade. Our lawyers have been centrally involved in leading cases involving constitutional interpretation in the High Court, Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court.

Administrative law

Administrative decisions in the public sector must be lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair. Administrators require a good grasp of administrative law in order to perform their functions effectively and in compliance with the law. Cheadle Thompson & Haysom has extensive expertise in advising public sector clients at all levels on administrative law matters. Our lawyers have designed administrative institutions and infrastructure, developed fair administrative procedures, conducted regulatory impact assessments, formulated public participation processes on draft legislative and policy instruments. We frequently advise public sector bodies on major projects involving novel and complex administrative law issues and have considerable expertise in developing comprehensive strategies that help our public sector clients comply with their legal obligations.

Legal policy

The firm counts leading experts in public policy in various specialist fields among its directors. We have advised national government departments on key policy frameworks and have contributed to the drafting of a range of government policy statements. Our lawyers have served on committees of inquiry and task teams that have developed legal policy proposals for government. We have also conducted major reviews of law and policy for public sector clients, including extensive comparative international research and benchmarking. Cheadle Thompson & Haysom also assists clients to make representations to government, Parliament and provincial legislatures on legislative proposals.

Intergovernmental relations

Our lawyers know how government works. We have extensive experience of the distinctive and interdependent relationship between national, provincial and local government in South Africa and their respective legislative and executive authorities. Our directors have advised a broad range of national and provincial government departments on constitutional matters related to their respective jurisdictions, including the resolution of intergovernmental disputes and have drafted numerous provincial and national laws dealing with matters of concurrent legislative competence. Cheadle Thompson & Haysom has prepared intergovernmental agreements and implementation protocols for various government departments and statutory bodies in compliance with the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act.

Public finance management

Public sector bodies are subject to stringent public finance management obligations aimed at ensuring the efficient and effective management of public revenue, expenditure, assets and liabilities. These include the duties and responsibilities of accounting officers of government departments and the responsibilities, powers and functions of the governing bodies of public entities. We advise on the full range of legal public finance matters facing public sector bodies including advice on the interpretation and application of the Public Finance Management Act, the Treasury Regulations, the Municipal Finance Management Act and the various practice notes and instructions issued by the national and provincial treasuries. Our lawyers have advised on large, complex and sensitive internal investigations involving public finance management and regulatory compliance.

Public sector procurement

The public sector is obliged to procure goods and services in accordance with systems that are fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective. We assist public and private sector clients to navigate the complex regulatory framework applicable to procurement and government contracting. Our lawyers advise on the full range of procurement issues arising from the Public Finance Management Act, the Treasury Regulations, the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act, the Municipal Finance Management Act and the Codes of Good Practice on Black Economic Empowerment. We provide litigation and dispute resolution services, due diligence and regulatory advice, strategic procurement counselling and transactional support to clients at all stages of the public procurement process. Our lawyers have advised on major state tender processes, drafted national procurement related legislation, developed procurement policies and procedures for major public bodies and represented clients in high level procurement litigation.

Education and skills development

Our lawyers have been central to the drafting of several national and provincial education and training laws, including the South African Schools Act, the Higher Education Act and the Skills Development Act. We have advised education departments at regional, national and provincial level, higher education institutions, statutory bodies and non-governmental organisations operating in the education sector. Cheadle Thompson & Haysom has advised the Department of Labour, the Department of Higher Education and Training and various sector education and training authorities (SETAs) on skills development matters. We have also advised a range of public bodies on the National Qualifications Framework and on the quality assurance and accreditation of education and training institutions and their programs. Directors of the firm have authored books on schools and the law and on skills development.

Land reform

Cheadle Thompson & Haysom has extensive experience in land reform. Our lawyers have advised communities and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform on land matters. We assisted the Department to establish and manage the Land Rights Management Facility, a major initiative to provide legal and mediation services in land tenure disputes throughout South Africa. The initiative included the appointment, management and training of national panels of lawyers and mediators.

Governance and legal risk

The effective delivery of public services requires accountable and coherent governance at every level of the public administration. Our lawyers advise on the mechanisms, policies and procedures necessary to promote good governance in the public sector and to achieve an appropriate balance between autonomy and accountability in public sector institutions. The firm also conducts legal risk, regulatory compliance and litigation reviews.


We offer training seminars and programs designed to our client’s specific requirements on various aspects of law and policy. Our lawyers are experienced trainers and have developed and conducted major training programs for lawyers, mediators and public sector officials.

Case management systems

Cheadle Thompson & Haysom has extensive experience in the design and operation of case management systems. We have established and managed panels of lawyers and mediators on behalf of national government for urgent intervention in land tenure related disputes throughout South Africa. We review and advise on legal case management by public sector institutions.