Sandra completed her articles in the Commercial Law Department of De Vries Incorporated. From her admission in 2001 she directed High Court Litigation Departments in various law firms. Sandra joined Bowman Gilfillan in 2008 and was a Senior Associate in their Energy and Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change practice areas. She completed a Masters Degree part time, with courses in environmental, internal economic, sustainable development and development law. Sandra joined Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr as a Director in 2012.


  • Drafting an urgent response to the Department of Environmental Affairs' Notice of an Intention to issue a Directive / Pre–Compliance Notice in respect of the Camden Power Station.  This Notice was extremely lengthy and involved considering a wide range of alleged non-compliance under several environmental laws
  • Representing Eskom Holdings Ltd in instituting an interdict to exercise its right to maintain a strategically important power line traversing a private nature reserve.
  • Representing ACWA Power South Arica in providing advice on various agreements' environmental clauses for the construction, operation and power purchase from a coal fired power plant for a mining company.
  • Advising Vuselela Energy (Pty) Ltd on environmental requirements for a thermal energy recovery plant to be developed for a mining company.
  • Managing the environmental team at Bowman Gilfillan that represented project developers, foreign investors and lenders in numerous Bid Responses submitted to the Department of Energy's Request for Qualifications and Proposals for New Generation Capacity under the IPP Procurement Programme in Rounds 1 and 2. Also involved in several IPP Projects since joining Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, in relation to acquisition of IPP Project Companies, furnishing opinions required by Lenders for financial close; and conducting due diligences for Round 3. 

Examples include:

Project Developers and International Investors

  • EDP Renovaveis–Witberg Wind Project; Happy Valley Wind Project and Prieska Solar Project.
  • Enel Green Power and Sharp Solar Energy – Tomburke Solar Project.
  • Red Cap Investments (Pty) Ltd - Red Cap Couga Wind Farm.
  • Cennergi – Tsitsikamma Community Wind Farm.
  • BioTherm Energy (Pty) Ltd: the successful Dassiesklip Wind Project; and the Aries and Konkoosies Solar Projects.
  • Sun Edison LLC: the successful Witkop, Soutpan and Boshoff Solar Projects.
  • Ener-G Plc: for several Landfill Gas projects.


  • Rand Merchant Bank: the successful Umoya Wind Project.
  • ABSA, Nedbank, Industrial Development Corporation and Development Bank of Southern Africa: for the Ilangalethu Concentrated Solar Project.
  • Standard Bank: Scatec Solar SA’s successful Kalkbut, Linde and Dreunberg Projects. Also advising on certain of Electrawind’s Wind Projects.
  • Investec Bank Ltd–Building Energy Development Africa's proposed Red, Blue and Green Solar Projects.
  • Furnishing an opinion to the International Finance Corporation on the Kyoto Protocol and national regulations, clean development mechanisms and the legal status of certified emission reductions in South Africa.
  • Advising on emission reduction purchase agreements.
  • Providing advice on importation and transport regulations to First Solar Inc., a USA Company, in relation to the importation of solar panels to South Africa.
  • Advising on nuclear conventions; national legislation and regulations to shareholders of a uranium company to be listed on foreign stock exchanges, including South Africa.
  • Advising on protected area status of game reserves situated in the exploration area of an oil and gas company and implications for the proposed operations.

Due diligences and corporate transaction advice

  • Conducting due diligence reports on all aspects of environmental and mining law; hazardous substances; public health and food safety; waste management; water management; and occupational health and safety.  These included targets such as Royal Bafokeng Platinum Ltd (for its listing), Mashala (Pty) Ltd (for Cargill Inc), Riversdale Mining Limited’s subsidiary mining companies (for Rio Tinto PLC), Northam Platinum Ltd (in the restructuring of the Mvelaphanda Group), Uranium One (Pty) Ltd, Kanu Vineyards (Pty) Ltd, Nestle (Pty) Ltd, Sable Mining Africa and Jagersfontein Developments (Pty) Ltd for Reinet Investments SCA.
  • Furnishing advice on environmental issues in various large transactions.  Examples include the sale of:
    • Shares in the Shanduka Group to the Chinese Investment Corp.
    • De Beers Namaqualand Mine to TransHex and transfer of the Mine’s sustainability agreements (including for abalone farming, seal conservation, and wind farm development).

Air Quality

  • Furnishing urgent advice to and preparing submissions for Arcelor Mittal South Africa Ltd relating to amendment of its air emission licence, due to the need to restart certain furnaces subsequent to a fire damaging existing furnaces. 

Waste and hazardous substances

  • Advising on all aspects of waste management, including storage, transport and disposal, under the various legislation, regulations and guidelines.
  • Representing Sasol Nitro in a R10 million civil action for recovery of damages incurred from unlawful waste disposal on its property.
  • Advising S.A. Metals Equity (Pty) Ltd on an agreement for purchase of dangerous goods from Xstrata South Africa (Pty) Ltd
  • Advising Puma Energy on an Agreement relating to storage facilities for dangerous goods at the Richards Bay Port.
  • Furnishing opinions on the legislative framework for the classification and export of hazardous substances, to clients such as Impala Platinum Ltd.
  • Advising on international and regional conventions, such as the Montreal and Bamako Conventions, national legislation and regulations for the transboundary movement of hazardous waste and CFCs (including trade and export, categorization, export for recovery or recycling, environmental and health impacts and illegal trading to local and several international clients).

Contaminated land and liability for pollution

  • Advising clients on the following issues:
    • International Development Corporation of South Africa Ltd – lender liability.
    • Bank of America – liability for pollution from leased aircraft, ships, tankers and offshore installations.
    • Cargill Inc. and Rio Tinto PLC (international holding companies of mining companies in South Africa) and SFF Association and Oil Pollution Control South Africa - shareholder, director and employees liability for environmental and occupational health and safety issues.

High Court litigation and administrative appeals

  • Assisting in team involved in precedent setting constitutional challenge regarding the right to water (representing the City of Johannesburg and Johannesburg Water).
  • Part of team representing, and drafting papers, for Coal of Africa (Pty) Ltd in the various administrative appeals; interdict proceedings and directives arising from its Vele Colliery, situated near Mapungubwe National Park.
  • Review proceedings and administrative appeals on mining law issues (representing African Exploration Mining and Finance Corporation (Pty) Ltd).
  • Several administrative appeals under the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act 2002 (MPRDA) and National Environmental Management Act 1998 against grant of mining rights and environmental authorisations due to oil pollution risks (representing Oil Pollution Control South Africa).
  • Drafting responding statements and furnishing opinions on administrative appeals against the grant of environmental authorisations for wind projects.
  • Opposing an application for an interdict to demolish Kgaswane Country Lodge instituted by the Magaliesburg Protection Association.

Mining Law

  • Providing on-going advice to various mining companies on all aspects of the MPRDA, including African Exploration Finance and Mining (Pty) Ltd; Coal of Africa Ltd; Royal Bafokeng Platinum Ltd; and Northam Platinum Ltd.

Pro bono matters

  • Drafting a comparative analysis of marine animal protection laws and policy of South Africa and Australia for Animal Rights Africa, as part of a presentation to Parliament for the new animal welfare legislation.
  • Team member that successfully represented Sonke Gender Justice Network in obtaining a hate speech charge in the Equality Court against Julius Malema, for his comments regarding the alleged Zuma rape victim.
  • Team member representing the South African Human Rights Commission in the Equality Court against Jon Qwelane for an article in Sunday Times with alleged homophobic statements.


Sandra has authored or co-authored several publications, including:

  • “The Future of Carbon Trading in South Africa” (Without Prejudice, the Legal 500, International Law Office and the Nature of Law).
  • Chapter on Climate Change Regulation in South Africa (Getting the Deal 2009, 2010, 2011).
  • “Responding to Climate Change: The Carbon Tax Option in South Africa” (International Law Office).
  • “Environmental Authorisations Required for associated activities in mining and prospecting – the Maccsand’s case (International Law Office).
  • “Maximum Emission Limits and Licensing Amendments introduced in Air Quality Legislation”, (International Law Office).
  • Chapter on mining legislation and commercially related issues in South Africa (Getting the Deal 2008; 2009 and 2010).
  • Chapter on environmental legislation and commercially related issues in South Africa (International Environmental Comparative Law Journal 2009).
  • “Environmental Right relied on to force disclosure of information” (International Law Office).
  • “Improved Coordination of Environmental Authorisations processes may reduce delays and costs” (International Law Office; Linex Legal and the Professional Accountant).
  • Limitations of recovering legal costs in Constitutional Environmental Rights litigation” (International Law Office).


  • Intelligence Transfer Centre, Carbon Trade Africa 2009: “South African Government’s approach to Climate Change”.
  • IIR BV South Africa: Greener Gas Emissions Conference 2010 “South African legislation and Climate Change”.
  • The Law Society of South Africa, LEAD course 2008: “Implications for non-compliance with the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act”.
  • Eskom Holdings Ltd and also the Right of Way Association 2010 and 2011: “Rights of surface right holder under the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act”.
  • Animal Rights Africa 2010: “The Animal Protection Act – international comparisons and  best practise”.
  • The Fracking Association of South Africa 2011: “Environmental protection in mining under South Africa’s legislation”.
  • Chamber Global 2017 - 2019 ranks Sandra in Band 3 in Environment.
  • Who’s Who Legal – Environment 2015 identified Sandra as a leading lawyer in Environmental law.
  • Legal 500 EMEA 2017 recommended Sandra in mining.
  • Who's Who Legal 2017 and 2018 recommended Sandra as a leading lawyer for Environment.


  • BA LLB, Rhodes University
  • LLM, University of South Africa
  • Enrolled with the Legal Practice Council
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