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KPMG South Africa promises change but clients fade

Thursday, October 05, 2017 - 01:50

KPMG's new chief executive in South Africa has promised to make sweeping changes to ensure the firm does not repeat ''greatly disappointing'' work it did for business friends of President Jacob Zuma. As David Pollard reports, it's struggling to retain clients after becoming the latest high profile multinational to become ensnared in the influence-peddling scandal rocking South African politics.

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It was mid September when the news hit the Johannesburg stock exchange - KPMG's South African leadership was to go ... After the auditor found work done for the powerful Gupta family fell 'considerably short of its standards'. Now, a new leader has new promises - of change ... (SOUNDBITE) (English) KPMG SOUTH AFRICA CEO, NHLAMU DLOMU, SAYING: "Whenever it does come to our attention that our work has fallen short, we seek to correct it ...." And accountability ... (SOUNDBITE) (English) KPMG SOUTH AFRICA CEO, NHLAMU DLOMU, SAYING: "We do employ 3,400 professionals ... In this case we have had a few of our people erring - we acknowledge that and we would like to assure you that we will continue to take strong action." KPMG lost the African arm of insurer Munich Re as a client this week. And at least three other locally-listed firms have dropped it. It's not the only one damaged by its association with the Guptas - three businessmen accused of wielding undue influence over President Zuma. Global consultancy McKinsey has been under scrutiny, and the UK arm of PR firm Bell Pottinger collapsed ... following accusations it had run a racially-charged campaign on their behalf. Now, as it seeks to limit its fallout, KPMG also wants an independent inquiry. (SOUNDBITE) (English) KPMG SOUTH AFRICA CEO, NHLAMU DLOMU, SAYING: "We take that and open ourselves up to that scrutiny. Because we believe it's important to rebuild public trust." It's already under investigation by South African regulators - it says it is cooperating with the probe. But it's thought Standard Bank is also pondering whether to drop it - and that Barclays Africa is doing the same. Though the auditor may be pinning some hope on South Africa's central bank. It's reportedly told the country's big four lenders they can't fire KPMG - because that might undermine financial stability.

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KPMG South Africa promises change but clients fade

Thursday, October 05, 2017 - 01:50