WEBBER WENTZEL: Leading the way in transformation

Nkonzo Hlatshwayo – Webber Wentzel Partner

Webber Wentzel, one of the leading law firms in the continent, has continued to demonstrate in words and in deeds, it’s commitment to transformation. To that end, people from previously disadvantaged communities hold approximately 17.5% of the equity in the firm.

“We are proud to be a truly South African law firm and as such, our diversity takes top priority. Harnessing our employees’ and stakeholders’ varied experience, perspectives and backgrounds is a strategic imperative to improve the quality of the work we deliver.

This also assists us to realise our vision to be the law firm of choice in Africa for complex commercial matters and dispute resolution,”

The firm affirms that it embraces and encourage transformation, not only within the organisation , but also in the companies it works with.

“We strive to accurately reflect the demographics of the South African population and our recruitment, training and development initiatives reflect this commitment. As such, in May 2011, Webber Wentzel successfully completed the BBBEE verification process with the National Empowerment Rating Agency of South Africa (NERA SA) and has been awarded a Level Four Contributor BEE verification status.”

For example, Nkonzo Hlatshwayo is a partner in the Competition Practice, Astrid Abrahams an associate in the Public Law Practice Group, Ganeefah Dawood an Associate in Employment & Employee Benefits practice and Patrick Ache is a senior associate in the Africa Mining and Energy Projects Practice – to name but a few of the professionals who may be loosely described as having been in the previously disadvantaged community criteria.

Corporate Social Investment forms an integral part of the business approach and Webber Wentzel proactively seeks out opportunities to improve and enrich the communities in the regions in which it operates.

Equity and Management:

“Webber Wentzel is a professional partnership in which the equity partners hold equity, which is determined and varies from year to year.

Previously disadvantaged individuals – as defined in the Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Act, 2003 (the BEE Act) – hold approximately 17.5% of the equity in the firm Webber Wentzel is an equal opportunity employer, committed to employment equity at all levels of employment within the firm.

For this purpose the firm established an employment equity committee and an employment equity policy to guide the committee.

The firm has been listed in the South African government gazette as an employer that has submitted the applicable equity report in compliance with the requirements of the Employment Equity Act. At present, more than 50% of our junior attorneys and candidate attorneys are previously disadvantaged individuals.”

Transformation Statement:

Webber Wentzel established a transformation committee to promote and oversee transformation within the organisation. During its two-year tenure the committee developed a transformation statement and implemented a number of policies to assist the firm in reaching its transformation objectives.

Having fulfilled its intended purpose, the transformation committee disbanded and its role, to implement and manage the transformation process, has been taken over by the firm’s Senior Partner, David Lancaster, who also chairs the firm’s management board.

Written by: Musa Ndlangamandla – Transform SA Ad Sales/Editorial Executive.

Musa is a senior journalist from Swaziland and until January 2012 he was Chief Editor of The Swazi Observer Group of Newspapers. He is a former advisor and speech writer to King Mswati III. Musa studied Law and holds a number of certificates from leading schools of Journalism. He has travelled to over 35 countries on assignment. He also writes as a freelancer for various leading publications.


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