Enabler or victim? KPMG SA and State Capture

What happens to an organisation when good governance and warning signs are ignored? Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu had a ringside-seat at one of the worst financial catastrophes South Africa has seen and his new book Enabler or victim? KPMG SA and State Capture describes his experience as Chairman of KPMG during the turbulent period the firm experienced.

As the first Black Chartered Accountant in South African and with over 40 years in the profession, Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu has always had immense pride in the auditing profession. From being a political prisoner on Robben Island at the age of 19 to being the economic adviser to President Thabo Mbeki, he has been a leading light for inculcating a corporate culture of accountability, ethical business leadership and the advancement and development of South Africa.

It then came as a great disappointment to him when the profession was plunged into unprecedented catastrophe as the acts committed by one of the big four firms, KPMG South Africa, came to light.

The KPMG crisis was a headline-making matter so serious that it caused an earthquake within the local auditing profession, leading many to question the integrity of the occupation.

KPMG was seen as an enabler of the Gupta state capture. Then there was also the infamous SARS’ Report and the involvement of KPMG in the collapse of the Venda Building Society (VBS) Bank,

Professor Nkuhlu was no stranger to KPMG - over the years, he had been involved with the firm in various capacities, but it was not until he became the Chairman on KPMG in March 2018 that he began to understand the magnitude of the Gupta, SARS and VBS matters.

In his new tell-all memoire, Enabler or Victim? KPMG and State Capture, Professor Nkuhlu gives readers an intimate glimpse into what transpired after he took on the role of Chairman of KPMG South Africa from March 2018 to March 2020, as he struggled to understand how a 100-year old prestigious firm like KPMG became embroiled in state capture and corruption. His account from an insider perspective is a cautionary tale of what happens when good governance and warning signs are ignored – and the long road back from the brink of disaster.

Says Nonkululeko Gobodo, Chief Executive Officer: Nkululeko Leadership Consulting: “In his book, Professor Nkuhlu illustrates the tremendous courage he showed when he took up the role of Chairman of KPMG at the risk of damaging his own reputation. He stayed the course when things got worse and did not quit. The book shows us what authentic leadership looks like and teaches readers about the ability to lead with integrity. Professor Nkulhu achieved the impossible in stabilising the ship that also led to KPMG’s renewal and fresh launch. The profession will forever be indebted to him for being part of restoring public trust in our beloved profession.”

Adds renowned South African businessman, Roy Andersen: “This is a story of the triumph of human endeavor and good over evil. A fascinating read that will motivate accountants and aspirant accountants of all ages and races. The rehabilitation and the re-emergence of KPMG, one of South Africa’s great and proud accounting firms, is a boost for the profession.”

Professor Nkuhlu’s book, Enabler or victim? KPMG SA and State Capture, will be available from leading bookstores and from the publisher KMM Review Publishing 18th September 2020.

Useful resources:
The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) is the pre-eminent accountancy body in South Africa. It has established itself as one of the leading Institutes in the world, playing its part in a highly dynamic business sector.
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