Although unsure of
the exact date, it seems as if Henry Oswald Vos was sent to Parys in
1904 as town secretary by the Free State government. For a supplementary
income, he practised, with the consent of the local magistrate, as law
agent in the district of Vredefort of which Parys was then a part. Later
Mr. D.H. Viljoen, a qualified attorney, joined Mr. Vos and they
practised as partners in Parys with branch offices in Oranjeville and
In the late 1920ís
they took in an articled clerk, Mr. J.J. Wessels, a teacher who taught
in Kopjeskraal just across the Vaalriver. The articles of apprenticeship
were made with Mr. Viljoen, because a law agent was not allowed to train
a clerk. Wessels was admitted as an attorney during the early years of
the depression, and because of the poor economic situation at that
stage, the partnership could not offer him a reasonable salary. To
retain his services they offered him a third partnership. The difficult
years continued and Viljoen decided to step out of the partnership. He
then took over the two branch offices and settled in Vredefort. Vos and
Wessels continued with the office in Parys under the name Vos & Wessels.
In 1936 Vos passed
away and Wessels continued the practice. From time to time he would take
a professional assistant into his service, one of which was Mr. J.B.
Cornelius, who later practised law in Heilbron.
In 1945 Wessels
took Mr. J.P. Coetzee (father of the present owner of the firm) into his
service as clerk. In 1947 he also took in Mr. T. Vorster as attorney.
Vorster became a partner in 1948 and the practice was known as Wessels &
In 1950 Wessels
passed away and Vorster continued the practice under the existing name.
At a later stage he changed the name of the firm to T. Vorster. After
Coetzee was admitted as attorney, he first became a professional
assistant and later on entered into the partnership. The name of the
partnership then changed to Vorster & Coetzee.
Coetzee jr. and N.P. Barnhoorn who worked as professional assistants at
the firm since 1979, entered into the partnership in 1980. The name of
the partnership stayed unchanged.
In 1985 J.P.
Coetzee sr. retired and the remaining partners continued the practice
under the existing name.
In 1987 Vorster
also retired and the two remaining partners continued the practice. The
name of the firm changed to Coetzee & Barnhoorn.
and Barnhoorn took Mr. J.L. Pretorius into their service as a
professional assistant and he became a partner in 1988. The name of the
firm stayed unchanged. After a while Pretorius stepped out and Coetzee
and Barnhoorn continued the practice until the death of Mr. Barnhoorn in
The firm Coetzee & Barnhoorn changed its name to
Coetzees as from 1 March 2004 and on 1 March 2005 the firm was
incorporated as Coetzees Inc.
At present Dr. J.P. Coetzee, his son Japie and his daughter Cecile de Milander are the directors of Coetzees Inc.