Steinhoff wants to make offer to postpone liquidation case to Constitutional Court

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Steinhoff says he wants to go to the Constitutional Court as he seeks to postpone a liquidation hearing.

  • Steinhoff’s lawyers said the retailer would apply to the Constitutional Court as it seeks to postpone a liquidation hearing.
  • The liquidation request was filed by the former owners of shoe retailer Tekkie Town, who claim that former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste “tricked” them into selling their business.
  • As the liquidation hearing began this week in the Western Cape High Court, Steinhoff wants it to be postponed so that it can appeal.

Retailer Steinhoff has said it will take its fight to postpone the liquidation hearing it faces in the Constitutional Court.

Steinhoff wants the liquidation offer to be suspended so he can seek leave to appeal an earlier ruling that the Western Cape High Court has jurisdiction to hear the case.

According to her, as an “external company” under SA law, it cannot be liquidated by a local court. But that objection was dismissed by Western Cape High Court Judge Hayley Slingers earlier this month. His decision meant that the liquidation case could continue.

The liquidation request was filed by the former owners of shoe retailer Tekkie Town, who claim they were “duped” by former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste into trading valuable shares in the shoe chain for shares in Steinhoff.

As Steinhoff seeks to address the Constitutional Court, the former owners of Tekkie Town have vowed to oppose a separate hearing to sanction Steinhoff’s comprehensive settlement proposal.

As Fin24 reported earlier this week, Steinhoff has asked the Western Cape High Court to approve his proposed R25 billion settlement, with CEO Louis du Preez saying it was “time to end to this saga “. The group said it may have to be liquidated if the proposed settlement fails.

The plaintiffs’ vote sanction hearing, which took place last week, has been set for September 30. A separate hearing will also take place in Amsterdam. Only if both courts approve will the proceedings be made enforceable.

‘No settlement – liquidation first’

But former Tekkie Town CEO Bernard Mostert said that since Steinhoff was insolvent, he should be liquidated and his assets preserved.

In addition, he says the liquidation court case should first be finalized before a court rules on the settlement.

” Have the [settlement proposal] sanctioned before Steinhoff’s liquidation claim was decided would be premature and a waste of court time, “he said.

While Slingers’ ruling last week that a South African court has jurisdiction to hear the liquidation case meant it could proceed, little progress was made this week. Slingers limited itself to hearing a multitude of requests for postponement and intervention.

According to attorney Willie Duminy, for Tekkie Town, the demands were “clearly an attempt to derail the hearing.”

This was forcefully denied by Steinhoff’s lawyer Arnold Subel, who said most of the requests came from third parties seeking to intervene in the proceedings, not from Steinhoff himself.

He said Steinhoff was interested in having the matter heard as soon as possible.

On Wednesday, in brief proceedings, Stubel informed the court that Steinhoff wanted to apply to the Supreme Court of South Africa. He did not provide any further information.

Judge Slingers, in brief remarks, noted that she did not yet have a copy of the claim.

She also rejected a second postponement request she heard on Tuesday, saying she had already ruled on the matter and there was no need for a “second bite of cherry.”

While she rejected the postponement request, the liquidation case was indeed delayed due to three new offers of intervention which reached the court on Tuesday.

These will likely not be heard until October.


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