Baker & McKenzie has launched a South African employment practice with the hire of Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr’s director of employment, Johan Botes.

Botes joins Bakers’ Johannesburg office as a partner. He is bringing associate Lauren Salt with him from Cliffe Dekker.

His practice covers a wide range of employment law and labour relations issues, including industrial relations and advising companies on organisational restructuring.

The firm has also hired consultant David Davies from South African public electricity company Eskom Holdings, where he was legal counsel for its nuclear operating unit.

Bakers has made a steady string of hires in South Africa in the course of the last 18 months, including projects and energy partner Kieran Whyte in March and banking partner Jennifer Stolp in December, both joining from Cliffe Dekker.

The firm also bolted on local competition boutique Vani Chetty Competition Law in August last year.

Cliffe Dekker has lost four partners over the course of the year to Linklaters ally Webber Wentzel.

However the firm, which broke off its alliance with DLA Piper, added six partners in its finance and employment teams last month, including three from Norton Rose Fulbright, tax directors Dries Hoek and Mark Linington from Webber Wentzel in September, and Deepa Vallabh and Christoff Pienaar from Webber Wentzel and Hunter Thyne from Hogan Lovells earlier in the year.

Bakers launched in South Africa in 2012 through the hire of a team from defunct US firm Dewey & LeBoeuf. It now has over 100 lawyers and staff in Johannesburg.