CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) --
South African Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba on Friday expressed
deep concern over unethical practices currently surrounding KPMP and urged
government departments to review relations with the international auditing firm.
government departments and their entities must consider reviewing their work
programs with KPMG to ensure that their audit processes have not been
compromised in any way, and to take appropriate steps if it has been
compromised, Gigaba said.
regard, the government should explore possible regulations for both the public
and private sector in an effort to ensure and preserve the integrity and good
governance in the audit fraternity, the minister said.
will not only ensure that companies diversify their audit options but also build
in a peer review oversight mechanism, said Gigaba.
“It cannot be
in the interest of good governance to have one audit firm auditing a company
perpetually,” he added.
KPMG has been
under fire for immoral and unethical auditing practices in South Africa.
KPMG withdrew its report into the so-called “rogue unit” in the South African
Revenue Services (SARS).
which cost SARS 23 million rand (about 1.8 million U.S. dollars), delved into
the legality of an elite crime investigative unit within SARS in 2007.
found irregularities in the establishment of the unit accused of spying on
taxpapers, including VIPs, through illegal intelligence gathering.
that its report on SARS lacked sufficient evidence to conclude findings of a
“rogue unit” and offered to repay the 23-million-rand fee it received from SARS.
was partly instrumental in the downfall of former finance minister Pravin
Gordhan, who was accused of knowing and endorsing the “rogue unit” when he was
SARS Commissioner between 1999 and 2009.
around the unit’s work led to Gordhan being criminally charged. However, the
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) eventually declined to prosecute Gordhan.
developments over the past week surrounding KPMG have reaffirmed our position
that there must be mandatory rotation of audit firms,” Gigaba said.
practices have created a bad image and have undermined the reputation of good
governance and audit independence in one of the key sectors and institutions in
South Africa’s economy, Gigaba said.
developments further highlight the risks posed by market dominance and
concentration of a few firms in key industries and offer yet another opportunity
for introspections and reforms, the minister said.
He called for
a concerted effort by all stakeholders to open up the sector to more players for
a more de-concentrated and transformed audit sector.
all join hands in rooting out bad elements that undermine the optimal
functioning of our promising economy and its globally reputable institutions,”
therefore warranted and critical that the relevant law enforcements and bodies
such as the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA) look into this
matter to identify and sanction those responsible for any wrong-doing, said
KPMG is also
suspected of being associated with the controversial Indian Gupta family which
is accused of exerting undue influence over President Jacob Zuma in the
appointment of cabinet ministers and the awarding of lucrative contracts with
state-owned enterprises, known as “state capture.”
announcement to withdraw the “rogue unit” report came after the conclusion of
the company’s investigation into its alleged ties with the Guptas and the
handling of the family’s accounts in Johannesburg.
KPMG’s senior officials have resigned over the scandal.
South Africans mark World Rhino Day with pledge
to curb poaching
CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) --
South Africans on Friday marked World Rhino Day with a pledge to
curb mounting rhino poaching.
Every year on
September 22, the world marks World Rhino Day to raise awareness around the
impact of rhino poaching. The theme of this year’s World Rhino Day is Five Rhino
Species Forever, in reference to the five species of rhino: the black rhino,
white rhino, greater one-horned rhino, sumatran and javan rhinos.
In a message
to the nation, Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa thanked all
government departments, law enforcement agencies, civil society and all South
Africans for their commitment to conserve rhinos, one of the world’s most iconic
“Whilst it is
important to acknowledge the efforts of government departments and agencies in
implementing the Integrated Strategic Management of Rhinoceros Approach, at the
same time we must recognize the efforts of our communities, the NGO community,
business, and all ordinary South Africans who are doing their part,” said Molewa.
home to the largest rhino population in the world, bears the brunt of rhino
poaching, losing 1,175 rhinos in 2015. So far no official figures have been
provided for the rhinos lost in 2016.
For the last
decade, more than 6,000 rhinos have been poached in South Africa, according to
Wildness Foundation Africa.
South Africa continues to have a proud record for species conservation despite
the grim impact of the illicit transnational wildlife trade on rhino horns.
to register successes in bringing poaching numbers down,” said Molewa.
brought the rhino back from the brink of extinction in the 1960s and today has
an estimated 20,000 black and white rhinos.
South Africa signs agreement to increase access
to HIV treatment
JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) --
South Africa Friday announced that it had signed an agreement
with global partners to ensure inexpensive and effective HIV/AIDS treatment.
announced by the South African Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi on Friday.
The move would ensure the availability of affordable, generic, single-pill HIV
treatment regimen containing dolutegravir (DTG).
fixed-dose combination will be available to low and middle-income countries at a
reduced price of 75 U.S. dollars per person, per year. Motsoaledi said the move
would accelerate treatment rollout and ensure people living with HIV access
high-quality antiretroviral therapy.
considerable price reductions could yield savings of up to R11.7 billion over
the next six years for us, which means that we can initiate additional patients
on treatment with the same amount of resources,” said the minister.
will introduce the new fixed-dose combination of three drugs, Tenofovir,
Lamivudine and Dolutegravir (TLD) in April 2018. Patients who follow the
treatment are more likely to be virally suppressed, which means that they are
not likely to transmit the virus to others, Motsoaledi added.
is collaborating with the government of Kenya, Clinton Health Access Initiative,
Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS and the Bill & Melinda Gates
has 3.9 million patients on HIV treatment as of the end of August.