File Photo: Grant Thornton International. Photo: Bloomberg
JOHANNESBURG - Grant Thornton and Sizwe Ntsaluba Gobodo (SNG) integration plans came full circle last week after the firms concluded discussions between separate member firms to operate under the banner SNG Grant Thornton.

Grant Thornton International (GTIL) spokesperson Campbell McIlroy said Grant Thornton Durban and Grant Thornton Pretoria would integrate with SNG Grant Thornton.

“The new merged SNG Grant Thornton entity will be larger than the previous South Africa federation, with more than 1000 professionals across 13 offices generating annual revenue of more than R750million,” Mcllroy said. “Grant Thornton Southern Cape has decided not to pursue integration, given its niche in its local market. The Grant Thornton Johannesburg firm will not be integrating. Both firms will exit the network by November 30, 2018 at the latest."

The group did not provide reasons why the controversy-prone Grant Thornton Johannesburg will not be integrating.

GTIL last month said Grant Thornton Johannesburg chief executive Paul Badrick has stepped aside voluntarily - pending the outcome of an investigation into sexual harassment allegations levelled against him. The allegations against Badrick came to the fore during an investigation of GTIL following a former director’s claims of sexual harassment against a former head of forensics earlier this year.

The sexual harassment allegations against Badrick occurred during 2015. Earlier this year, the firm apologised to two former employees who were sexually harassed by its former head of forensics.

In February, SNG joined the Grant Thornton global network as a member firm in South Africa. The deal saw SNG Grant Thornton become the group’s sole member firm in South Africa.

The firms immediately went about implementing a process of fully integrating Grant Thornton SA member firms into SNG under the brand name SNG Grant Thornton. At the time, Peter Bodin, the chief executive of GTIL, heralded the deal as a game changer.

“What will emerge is one of South African’s leading professional services firms, with a credible global reach, able to help dynamic South African organisations unlock their potential on the domestic, regional and global stage, shaping the future of South Africa’s economy and its people in the process,” Bodin said.

Grant Thornton member firms operate in more than 135 countries around the world, with 50000 people generating combined global revenues $5billion (R66.18bn).

SNG was launched in 2011 through the merger of two leading black auditing firms, SizweNtsaluba VSP and Gobodo Incorporated, SNG has a combined legacy of 29 years and has established itself as the fifth largest accounting firm in southern Africa.

Gobodo Incorporated took root in 1996 as a group of black chartered accountants under the leadership of Nonkululeko Gobodo, the first black African female chartered accountant in South Africa.