A clear message to the powerful
FURTHER heartening evidence of democratic South Africa’s resolve to live up to its found- ing principles of clean, open and account- able government is making fresh headlines with the dramatic developments in the beleaguered Gupta-linked auditing firm, KPMG. The international firm, which acknowledged working with Gupta- related entities from 2002, buckled under pressure – largely the result of the far- reaching work of journalists analysing the bombshell “Gupta leaks” emails – and acted to undo the damage, issuing what amounts to a multi- million rand-mea culpa and shedding executives. In what has been described as a “spectacular concession”, KPMG said the findings, conclusions and recommendations of its deeply controversial Sars report (over a supposed “rogue unit”) should be withdrawn because it created the incorrect im- pression that former finance minister Pravin Gord- han knew about the so-called “rogue unit”. The report was a feature of Gordhan’s hounding from the cabinet and a critical portfolio the hand- ling of which had earned him much credit and the confidence of investors and ordinary South Afri- cans alike. KPMG went further, announcing that it would channel the R23 million it had received from Sars to compile the report to charity and that it would donate R40m it received from the Guptas over the years to organisations fighting corruption in the country. This follows the fall of disgraced PR company Bell Pottinger over its egregious “white monopoly capital” campaign – also paid for by the Guptas. These developments are signal moments for a country desperate to claw its way back to the prom- ise of its democratic inauguration in 1994, of good governance of the people, for the people. They send a powerful message to all in power – whether in boardroom, cabinet or caucus – that the collective will of good South Africans, rally- ing to the standards of corruption- busters and activists for a truly better life is a force to be reck- oned with.