KPMG South Africa board chairman Wiseman Nkuhlu. Photo: Supplied (KPMG)

JOHANNESBURG – Embattled auditing firm KPMG South Africa board chairperson Wiseman Nkuhlu says the company has changed after suffering reputational damage over its work for the fugitive Gupta family, the South African Revenue Service (Sars), and now defunct VBS Mutual Bank.

In an open letter to South Africans published in newspapers on Sunday, Nkhulu said KPMG had let the country down and gaining the trust lost was not an easy task.

''It is appropriate to repeat to fellow South Africans that our apology for work that caused real hurt and damage to South African institutions and fellow citizens. We failed by our own standards and we let the country down. I realise that regaining public trust will not happen quickly. Understandably people will want to judge KPMG not by its word, but also by its deeds,'' he said.

The firm had ''nothing to hide'' and cooperated with the authorities. On VBS, KPMG former partner Sipho Malaba, who allegedly received R34 million to cook the books at the mutual bank, had been reported to the Hawks, said Nkuhlu. Furthermore, the firm would appear before the state capture commission of inquiry led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo.

''I would like to make an appeal to South African businesses, government, and the public – an appeal for your recognition that KPMG South Africa is today a very different business to what it was 18 months ago. An appeal for your patience as we continue to do more to demonstrate how we've changed," he said.

The firm had had a ''significant introspection'' and made changes on who it worked with, how it conducted itself, and how it did its works, Nkuhlu said.

The troubled auditing firm turned to Nkuhlu and appointed him to lead its board in March this year. Nkuhlu, who is also a chancellor of the University of Pretoria, is a former president of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica).

African News Agency (ANA)