KPMG promised transparency – then kept secret the suspension of its VBS audit partner

Business Insider SA
A banner in the KPMG South Africa head office in Johannesburg. (Business Insider)
  • KPMG suspended partner Sipho Malaba on 28 March. It kept that secret for the next two weeks.
  • When Business Insider South Africa first reported Malaba's suspension, KPMG did not disclose that it had also suspended a second partner, Dumi Tshuma.
  • On Sunday KPMG – again – promised to be transparent, in the interests of rebuilding public trust.


After allegations that it helped the Gupta family to engineer state capture, and undermined the SA Revenue Service (Sars) with a dodgy report, audit firm KPMG promised transparency.

"KPMG South Africa is determined to be open and transparent," it said in a statement around an investigation into one set of allegations, issued on 26 February.

A month later it suspended a senior partner who also headed its biggest business unit and served on its executive amid the VBS Mutual Bank scandal – and said nothing for two weeks.

KPMG decided to suspend Sipho Malaba on 28 March, KPMG CEO Nhlamu Dlomu said on Sunday, after feeling he had not been sufficiently honest when asked questions about VBS.

It did not disclose that suspension until Business Insider South Africa broke the news on 11 April.

Even then KPMG did not play with open cards. It warned staff (but only staff) that more people may be involved in the investigation around VBS – but did not mention that it already suspended Dumi Tshuma, a 15-year veteran of KPMG.

KPMG only disclosed Tshuma's involvement when it announced that both he and Malaba had resigned.

After that announcement KPMG called a press conference where it failed to answer key questions.

At that press conference KPMG chairperson Wiseman Nkhulu said it had learnt important questions from speaking to its clients after the Gupta allegations.

"The key message that kept coming through.. was that KMPG has not done enough to win back public trust and that more has to be done. The comments that were coming through were that we need to be more transparent regarding what happened, what went wrong, and what steps are we going to take to correct and rebuild public trust."

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