Not many businesses can claim to have survived and prospered for 130 years. Cluver Markotter celebrated this milestone on 1 May 2021.
It all began when Paul August Carl Dietrich (Paul) Cluver was admitted as an attorney and notary public in 1891 and began practicing under the name of Paul D Cluver in the Eikestad.
He was a well-known figure in Stellenbosch – very community-minded and concerned with the welfare and upliftment of the less fortunate. He also served as mayor of Stellenbosch from 1914 to 1921 and as a member of the Provincial Council from 1927 to 1930.
The law office was housed at 6 Bird Street – right opposite where Cluver Markotter stands today.
Joining Paul in business were two of his brothers, FA and AH Cluver, who were admitted as assistants in 1916.
In 1932, the firm underwent a name change and became Paul & AH Cluver (FA Cluver having passed away in 1921).
Paul Cluver died in 1944 but his brother AH Cluver continued in the practice – amassing a total of 65 years in harness.
In 1950 his son, Ralph, joined forces with his father and this was how things remained until the retirement of AH Cluver in 1965, who, sadly, passed away a year later.
By 1967 the firm comprised four partners – Messrs R Cluver, P van Velden, J Allwright and J Vosloo. As the seventies dawned, Allwright and Van Velden had moved on. In 1972, JAL de Waal (Koos) joined as partner. His son, Arend, became a director of Cluver Markotter in 2000.
Now to the Markotter side of the firm: August Friedrich Markotter established himself as a co-partner in the firm of Krige & Markotter in Stellenbosch in 1903.
His name (Oubaas Mark) became synonymous with rugby. For 50 years he was intimately involved in Maties and SA Rugby.
In 1938, his son, Christoph, joined as a partner and the name of the firm became, AF Markotter en Seun.
Another lawyer and partner, Abraham de Villiers, the father of Dr Wim de Villiers, the current rector of Stellenbosch University, joined the pair in 1945.
Over time, Jan Vosloo (1953) and Gys Steyn (1960) were also made partners in the business of Paul and AH Cluver.
The next development was the amalgamation of the firms, AF Markotter en Seun and Hofmeyer en Marais. The name of the amalgamated firm became Markotter, Basson en Marais.
In August 1970, the partnership with Christoph Markotter was disbanded. JAA Basson and PG Marais continued operating the practise under the original name.
Then, on 1 May 1973, the firm of Paul & AH Cluver merged with Markotter, Basson and Marais and Cluver and Markotter was formed.
The partners of the new union were RP Cluver, JHA Vosloo, JAL de Waal and JAA Basson. They were joined in 1980 by Paul Meaker.
In September 1982 another union took place; this time with the law practice of Smith and Zetler. Cluver Markotter thus gained the services of Gawie Erasmus.
Dr Max Loubser became a partner in 1983. Jan Vosloo retired in 1987 and JW (Kobus) Basson joined in 1988.
Things remained thus until the soon after the 100th birthday of the firm (1991).
In 1993 local “rivals”, Meintjes and Champion merged with Cluver and Markotter. This was when Peter Hill, who joined Meintjes and Champion in 1984, became a partner in Cluver Markotter.
Anton Melck joined the firm in 1997 for a stint until 2000 and rejoined in 2003.
Around 1996 the union with Hofmeyr, Herbstein and Gihwala took place to form Hofmeyr, Herbstein, Gihwala and Cluver. In 2000 Cluver Markotter re-established itself as a separate practice under the name “Cluver Markotter”. Gawie Erasmus retired in 1996 as did Kobus Basson who went into private business.
Rodney Africa became a director in 2001 until 2008. That same year, after 35 years in the saddle, Koos de Waal retired as director and stayed on as a consultant for 2 years; Paul Meaker retired from practising law a year earlier after 27 years of service to the firm.
In 2001 a number of younger directors were appointed, namely Derick Swart, Danie Cronje and Wynand Prins who in 2012, 2016 and 2019 respectively started practising for their own accounts.
In the subsequent intervening years 11 directors of the current complement of 15 directors joined our board: Dr Richard Stevens (in 2005); Lize Pecoraro (in 2008); James Lamprecht and Marieke Wild (in 2012); Luzanne Brink, Koos Geyser and Sisteen Geyer (in 2014); Lorinda van Niekerk (in 2015); Marike Koen and Brendon Hess (in 2016) and Sherine Roberts (in 2017).
Cluver Markotter currently has a team of 24 qualified attorneys, practising in various specialist fields of law.
With this rich heritage under its belt, Cluver Markotter now turns to the future. 130 years has taught us change is inevitable and moving with the times a necessity. Today, our team of 24 skilled, qualified attorneys stand at the ready, drawing on the firm’s hard-earned reputation for excellence to provide assistance in all areas of the law, ensuring we’re more than adequately prepared for whatever the next 130 years has in store.