Public Sector Law

We are experts in drafting and designing legal documents in plain language.

Legal policy and regulatory strategy

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 the government.

We have also conducted major reviews of law and policy for public sector clients, including extensive comparative international research and benchmarking.

Intergovernmental relations

Our lawyers know how the government works. We have extensive experience of the distinctive and interdependent relationship between national, provincial, and local governments 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.

We have also prepared intergovernmental agreements and implementation protocols for various government departments and statutory bodies in compliance with the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act.

Research, review and compliance audit skills

The firm has substantial experience in reviewing compliance of legal instruments with applicable laws and policies. Our approach to legislative drafting has required detailed consideration of other laws and applicable policies. This has included a detailed analysis of constitutional requirements, international obligations, and best practices.

Our professionals have extensive experience in undertaking research work into policy principles developed in international legislation and consider their application to South African law. A number of our professionals retain positions at universities where they engage in research and teaching and are accordingly up to date with current research practice and methodology. Many have undertaken post-graduate studies and have been trained in research techniques and methodology. Our professionals have also undertaken extensive comparative international research work for litigation purposes in areas such as labour law, constitutional law and administrative law.

Examples of comparative research and surveys conducted by our professionals include:

  • Reviewing and auditing legislation for small business promotion for the Department of Trade and Industry.
  • Auditing and reviewing South African and international lending and investment disclosure legislation for the Department of Trade and Industry.
  • Reviewing vocational training legislative frameworks in sub-Saharan Africa and international best practices in governance of semi-autonomous state institutions for the Department of Education, Lesotho.
  • Reviewing national and provincial law and policy on transport and public works for the Gauteng Department of Transport and Public Works.
  • Reviewing international best practices in workers’ compensation systems for the Tanzanian Department of Employment.
  • Reviewing heritage legislation and policy for the Department of Arts and Culture.
  • Auditing, reviewing and amending provincially administered education-related laws for the Gauteng and Eastern Cape Departments of Education.
  • Reviewing international broadcasting and telecommunications regimes for the Portfolio Committee on Telecommunications.
  • Reviewing and collating municipal by-laws regulating small businesses across 6 provinces for the Department of Trade & Industry.
  • Conducting an international review of labour broking regulation for the Department of Labour.
  • Conducting an international review of laws regulating the employment of foreign workers.


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 also 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.

Transaction advisory services for public sector projects

We have been contracted to provide legal transaction advisory services on major projects such as the SASSA national social grants tender and the Department of Trade and Industry Lottery Licence tender. Our advice in this regard has covered all aspects of the project and the procurement process, including RFP documents, disqualification and evaluation criteria, evaluation and adjudication processes, assessment of empowerment, technical and financial bids, performance guarantees, contract preparation, and bid-related litigation.

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.

Access to information and data privacy (PAIA and POPI)

We have extensive knowledge and expertise in the regulatory frameworks governing access to information and data privacy. In this regard, we have advised a wide range of public entities and private bodies on the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) and litigated on their behalf in relation to access to information requests. Clients in this regard have included the Council on Higher Education (CHE), the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

Our professionals have also advised public and private bodies on data privacy and the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI). Clients have included Stats SA in a POPI exemption application, and the Information Regulator in litigation in the Constitutional Court regarding access to information and data privacy.

We have extensive practical knowledge of PAIA and POPI and their implications for clients.

Land reform

Cheadle Thompson & Haysom established and managed a national panel of lawyers on behalf of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to provide legal services in land tenure disputes, in particular to farm workers and labour tenants facing eviction, but also in communal property association and land restitution matters. Cases were referred by departmental officials, screened by Cheadle Thompson & Haysom and allocated to members of the legal services panel for urgent intervention. As part of the joint project, we prepared comprehensive training courses on tenure security for lawyers and wrote a thorough resource manual on tenure security for the Department. The resource manual was published by Juta Law. The project included the administration of over 2000 cases including more than 340 000 beneficiaries over a three-and-a-half-year period.

For expert legal counsel in Public Sector Law, contact our firm today.

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