The Western Cape High Court has rejected Steinhoff’s bid for an urgent hearing of its settlement proposal with local claimants, ratcheting up the pressure on the embattled retailer that faces a series of deadlines in its bid to remain afloat.

A Business Day report says with four groups applying to join the legal action, the judge was unable to read all the legal arguments and ruled the matter was too complex to be heard in an urgent manner and struck it off the roll.

Steinhoff had applied to have the settlement agreement deemed urgent as the High Court is on a week-long break.

The local parties will meet with a judge on Monday, who acts as a case manager, on how to proceed.

They include former Pepkor CEO Pieter Erasmus, representing Mauritius-based investment trust Trevo; a lawyer who bought more than R6m in Steinhoff shares before the collapse; and the former owners of Tekkie Town, who are embroiled in separate litigation with Steinhoff to get their business, which they sold in exchange for Steinhoff shares, returned to them.

Steinhoff said in a statement that with more than 8 500 claimants in SA voting in favour of the settlement proposal, it felt it had sufficient support to ask the court to hear the settlement matter urgently.

The company said it will continue to ask the court to set an ‘expedited timetable’ for the hearing.

Full Business Day report