ConCourt refuses to hear Steinhoff's bid to appeal ruling on liquidation case

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Steinhoff approached the Constitutional Court in late September in a bid to shut down a liquidation case.
Steinhoff approached the Constitutional Court in late September in a bid to shut down a liquidation case.
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The Constitutional Court has refused Steinhoff's application for leave to appeal a ruling by a lower court that found it has jurisdiction to hear a liquidation case against the retailer. 

Steinhoff approached South Africa's apex court on an urgent basis in late September in a bid to stop the Western Cape High Court from hearing an application to have it liquidated.

The winding-up application was brought by the former owners of shoe retailer Tekkie Town, who say Steinhoff's former CEO Markus Jooste "duped" them into selling their business.

Steinhoff lodged its application with Constitutional Court after the high court ruled that it has jurisdiction to hear the winding-up case. It has also lodged a separate application with the Supreme Court of Appeal. 

In a short statement, the Constitutional Court said it had considered Steinhoff's application for leave to appeal directly to it and concluded it should be dismissed as it is "not in the interests of justice to grant leave to appeal at this stage". 

Steinhoff had argued that, as an "external company" under the Companies Act, it cannot be wound up by a South Africa court. It has also argued that the liquidation case deals with new legal territory that has not yet been tested before a court.

But the group's arguments did not convince Western Cape High Court Judge Hayley Slingers, who ruled the high court has the proper authority to hear the case. 

While the apex court will not hear the appeal at this stage, the Western Cape High Court is expected to hear the application for leave to appeal next week. 

Meanwhile, as Fin24 reported on Thursday, the Western Cape High Court is only expected to only hear a separate application by Steinhoff to approve its €1.4 billion (~R25 billion) settlement plan in January next year.

The three-month delay caused the group's share price to fall from around R2.80 at lunchtime on Thursday to R2.34 at the same time on Friday. 

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