Long-running Stellenbosch vs SA Rugby boss R37m battle heads to arbitration

SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux faces a R37m lawsuit by the University of Stellenbosch.
SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux faces a R37m lawsuit by the University of Stellenbosch.
Image: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

The R37m lawsuit by the University of Stellenbosch (Maties) against SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux‚ which has meandered along for seven years‚ will not go to court.

The dispute is now set to go to independent arbitration in November this year after the two parties agreed to remove the battle from the Western Cape High Court.

Advocate Alisdair Sholto-Douglas SC will arbitrate.

“The case has not been thrown out‚” Roux’s lawyer Frikkie Erasmus told TimesLIVE.

“Administratively‚ in terms of timing and time availability it is much easier to be in arbitration than in court.

“This doesn’t make it a better or worse outcome because a competent arbitrator has been appointed and was agreed to by both parties.

"The hearing will start on November 25 and has initially been allocated three weeks.

“We have no idea how long the hearing will take because there are a lot of witnesses to be called.”

There is some speculation that Maties preferred the arbitration option because the matter won’t be heard in public‚ but that could not be confirmed.

Erasmus said that arbitration could be open to the public‚ but that both parties would have to agree to it.

It is understood that the final outcomes of the arbitration will be made public.

The case‚ which was scheduled to start in the Western Cape High Court on May 13‚ was postponed ‘sine dine’ – a legal term meaning ‘with no fixed date’.

Maties is suing Roux and co-accused Christiaan de Beer for R37m for the alleged misappropriation of funds relating to the period the two effectively ran the Stellenbosch University Rugby Club.

Maties employed Roux between 1994-2012.

Maties appointed auditors KPMG to forensically investigate the rugby club’s finances when Roux served as director of finances.

The report was lodged with the High Court in November 2017.

Roux has always maintained his innocence. In a 16-page affidavit filed at the Western Cape High Court in early May‚ Roux challenged several claims made by the university in its case documentation.

“The university has not lost the R37 million it is claiming from me‚” Roux said in his affidavit.

“It appears from the case presented by the university‚ as well as the university's own documentation and expert report that the money which the university is claiming from me was spent on legitimate university expenses‚ incurred by and for the benefit of the university.

“The university accordingly does not claim the following: that the money in issue was not spent on behalf of the university‚ that it would otherwise not have spent that money (and would instead have saved it or invested it)‚ or that it did not obtain the goods and services paid for.

“Presumably for that reason‚ the university has not‚ as far as I am aware‚ instituted proceedings to claim any of that money from any service providers or students.

“Secondly‚ to the knowledge of the university‚ I never took any money from the university (apart from my salary and benefits)‚ let alone R37 million.

"The university's expert report confirms that I did not personally benefit from my alleged conduct relied upon for the claim.”

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