Give KPMG a second chance, chair Wiseman Nkuhlu asks
Nkuhlu has asked SA to recognise ‘that KPMG SA is today a very different business to what it was 18 months ago’
KPMG, the auditor that shed clients and staff after scandals in SA, has apologised for its “misdeeds” and wants a second chance to re-establish its business in the country, chair Wiseman Nkuhlu says.
The firm, one of the so-called big-four global auditing companies, confessed to publishing a misleading report on the SA Revenue Service, which led to a police probe of a former finance minister; doing work for the Gupta family; and acting as an auditor for a bank that collapsed due to alleged fraud. Its eight top staff resigned in September 2017, some of the biggest companies in SA have replaced it as their auditors, and in June it said its workforce had shrunk to 2,200 from 3,400.
“KPMG had made a lot of serious mistakes and lost the trust of the public and clients,” Nkuhlu said in an advert placed in the Sunday Times. “We had lost sight of our responsibility to serve the broader public interest.”
The company is one of a number of international firms that have apologised for their conduct during the nine-year rule of Zuma, which ended in February, during which time corruption at state companies became endemic. Bain & Company has started an independent probe into its own work for Sars, while McKinsey & Company and SAP have accepted responsibility for improper work done for state-owned companies.
“We know we made mistakes and we will accept responsibility, as appropriate, for our misdeeds,” Nkuhlu said. “In return, I would like to make an appeal to South African business, government and the public: an appeal for your recognition that KPMG SA is today a very different business to what it was 18 months ago.”
The company, which has lost clients including Absa and Dimension Data, is seeking to win back trust, he said.
We “appeal for your permission, for KPMG SA and the thousands of South Africans who work for it, to continue to play a positive role in the business community and the life of the nation,” he said.