Judge slams former SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux’s ‘delay tactics’ as he loses another appeal bid in R37 million Stellenbosch University saga

Former Saru CEO Jurie Roux. Photo: Reuters/Paul Childs

Former Saru CEO Jurie Roux. Photo: Reuters/Paul Childs

Published Oct 17, 2023


The Western Cape High Court has dismissed former SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux’s appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal, where he sought to overturn an order to pay back R37 million to the University of Stellenbosch.

The court has also slammed Roux for his “desperate refusal to accept accountability for his unlawful conduct”, saying his latest unsuccessful appeal was no more than a “delay tactic“.

In April, a full bench of the Western Cape High Court also dismissed an appeal from Roux after he was found guilty of misallocating R37 million when he worked in the finance department at the university between 2002-2010.

While Roux did not personally benefit from the misappropriated money, he was found guilty of manipulating the university’s computerised accounting system.

He has been ordered to pay back the money, about R37 million, which had been misappropriated from the coffers of Stellenbosch University to the Maties Rugby Club during his tenure at the institution's finance department.

Judge Vincent Saldanha said Roux had also received a fair trial before the Arbitrator and the Appeal Tribunal.

He dismissed Roux’s application for leave to appeal to the SCA after he attempted to expand the grounds of his appeal on the basis that his appeal was based on questions of law of importance because of their general application.

The judge explained in his written judgment that Roux had “literally sought to reargue the legal issues already dealt with in the arbitration proceedings and affirmed in the review judgment”. He said Roux raised three entirely new considerations for the challenges.

“In the note on arguments in the review proceedings that was referred to and dealt with in the judgment, counsel for the applicant (Roux) indicated that a claim for damages by an employer against an employee for a breach of contract was an exceedingly rare occurrence,” said Judge Saldanha.

His case was dismissed with costs, including that of two counsel.

In his judgment, Judge Saldanha said though he was mindful that Roux raised important novel issues in an employment context, particularly foreign law, none of the arguments ultimately assisted Roux’s case.

“None of it, in my view, on the facts of this matter, would or could have assisted him. Mr Roux was most certainly not the disadvantaged underdog in his employment relationship with the university.

“More importantly, the legal issues determined in this matter and any suggestion of the development of the common law could only have taken place in the actual context of the pleadings, the evidence, and the findings by the arbitrators.

“If anything, the conduct of Mr Roux, besides not only having been found by the arbitrators to be dishonest and in bad faith, is compounded by his impunity, that demonstrates a desperate refusal to accept accountability for his unlawful conduct,” said the judge in his scathing judgment

Judge Saldanha concluded: “Regrettably, in my view, his resort to trawling the selective choice of Canadian law and the attempt to conflate principles of tort with that of the South African law of contract (mindful though, of its instructive virtue) and by the attempt to introduce policy considerations in the face of the actual facts of this matter alludes in my view to no more than a delaying tactic (to put it politely) at avoiding liability for his unauthorised, dishonest, and surreptitious conduct".

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