BOOK REVIEW | Enabler or victim? KPMG SA and State Capture

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By Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu


What happens to an organisation when good governance and warning signs are ignored?

The author 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.

Profession plunged into unprecedented catastrophe

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.

How KPMG became embroiled in state capture and corruption 

In his new tell-all memoir, 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.


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 Nkuhlu 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.

– Nonkululeko Gobodo, Chief Executive Officer at Nkululeko Leadership Consulting

This is a story of the triumph of human endeavour 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.

– Roy Andersen, renowned South African businessman

About the author

Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu is currently the Chancellor of the University of Pretoria, the Chairman of the Board at KPMG in South Africa and a member of the Advisory board of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA).

Prof Nkuhlu became South Africa’s first qualified black chartered accountant. He served as an economic advisory for President Thabo Mbeki from 2000-2004 and chaired the Development Bank of Southern Africa Transmission team from January to May 1995.

Prof Nkuhlu has served as President of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants for two terms, from April 1998 to April 2000. He is passionately involved with the development of Black Accountants and is the Patron of the Nkuhlu School of Accounting of the University of Fort Hare.

He served as Economic Advisor to the President of the Republic of South Africa, T M Mbeki, and as Chief Executive of the Secretariat of New Partnership for Africa’s Development NEPAD from 2000 to 2005, playing a major role in the elaboration of NEPAD policy framework and in promoting the programme both in Africa and internationally. He participates regularly as a speaker in international conferences on African Development issues and corporate governance.

In recognition of his contribution to education, business and development, Professor Nkuhlu has received a number of awards, including Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of the Free State, Stellenbosch, Cape Town, Pretoria, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Witwatersrand and University of Fort Hare; and merit awards from the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce, Association for Advancement of Black Accountants of Southern Africa and the Black Management Forum.



He was also awarded the President of Convocation Medal by the University of Cape Town in June 2004. He also received an Order of the Baobab in Silver by the President of South Africa in 2008 for his contribution to the struggle against apartheid and contributing to the African Renaissance.

In 2020, Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu was honoured as inclusion in a list of the 100 Most Reputable Africans recently released by Reputation Poll International, a global public relations consultancy firm.


  • PUBLISHER | KMM Review Publishing  |
  • ISBN | 978-0-6399024-3-2 |
  • Recommended Retail Price | R195.00 |
  • Classification | Business |

 



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