KPMG SA appeals for recognition, patience and permission

Chairman Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu says KPMG is very different from what it was 18 months ago.

In an open letter to the public, KPMG chairman Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu appealed to South African businesses, governments and the public to recognise that KPMG is “today a very different business to what it was 18 months ago,” to have patience as they demonstrate how they have changed and for their permission to let KPMG continue to “play a positive role in the business community and the life of the nation.”

In the letter, Professor Wiseman said: 

“I believe strongly that South Africa is best served by having a healthy, vibrant and ethical audit industry that supports a flourishing business community. And I am convinced that a renewed KPMG South Africa can play an important role in that.”

He repeated KPMG’s apology to South Africans for “work that caused real hurt and damage to South African institutions and our fellow South Africans.” 

He admitted that they had failed by their own standards and that they let the country down.

Wiseman shared KPMG’s recent developments with the public, saying that he realises gaining back the country’s trust wouldn’t happen quickly. 

The developments, which include the appointment of new CEO Ignatius Sehoole; the reporting of former partner  Sipho Malaba to the Hawks in connection with the VBS scandal; the agreement with civil society organisations to disburse the R47 million of fees earned from Gupta entities; and the departure or disciplining of colleagues whose work was found unsatisfactory, speak to a “significantly changed firm.” 

Wiseman said: 

“Central to these changes is a commitment to greatly enhance our integrity and quality controls, as well as sanction for failure to meet the requisite firm and professional standards. And all of this underpinned by independent board oversight of the critical functions of risk management and audit quality. KPMG has nothing to hide. We have co-operated as required with all official and regulatory inquiries, and will continue to do so. We know we made mistakes and we will accept responsibility, as appropriate, for our misdeeds.”