Jurie Roux (Gallo Images)
- Former SA Rugby CEO and Stellenbosch University financial director Jurie Roux is attempting to set aside a ruling that he pay back R37 million he shifted to rugby programmes.
- The money was moved without authorisation and found its way into cost centres for the Maties Rugby Club, so it still stayed in-house.
- His lawyers argue he was never found to have stolen the money or used it for himself.
Former SA Rugby CEO and Stellenbosch University financial director Jurie Roux’s fight against having to pay back R37 million that he reallocated for the benefit of the university’s rugby programme began in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday.
Roux, who served on the university’s finance committee between 2002 and 2010, has been deemed to have irregularly allocated university funds without council approval.
In 2020, an arbitration hearing ruled Roux should pay back the money, which was held up on appeal in 2021.
His team is now arguing there were “gross irregularities” in the arbitration process and it should be set aside.
Roux is not accused of stealing or fraud – the money stayed in-house – but he moved it without permission, which makes the case novel.
He was not present for the civil case when his lawyer, advocate Johan de Waal, kicked off by telling Judge Vincent Saldanha this would be the first South African case in which someone faced a damages claim for unauthorised conduct, where there was no fraud, theft or loss involved.
De Waal argued that although Roux moved money from an account to cost centres for the Maties Rugby Club without authorisation, the money stayed in-house and was not used unlawfully.
It was still used by the university. In fact, at the arbitration appeal, the panel noted that some of the money was used so that the university’s image was enhanced.
Roux argued that some of the money was spent on transformation scholarships and the income the university made from the resulting government subsidies should be seen as a benefit from his spending.
Saldanh disagreed with this, saying it was not up to Roux to decide who to prioritise the university’s spending on.
It’s a helluva lot of money.
De Waal attempted to argue the university – and not Roux – should prove where and if it had lost money and how much.
He also insisted Roux did not personally benefit from the reallocation.
Roux’s second lawyer stressed to Saldanha: “He didn’t steal it. That’s a clear finding.”
But again, Saldanha pointed out only the council had the right to prioritise how the money was spent.
The university’s lawyers will use the same sitting to apply to make the R37 million arbitration award in their favour, an order of the court. Roux is opposed to that.
The case continues.