18/09/2017 12:36 SAST | Updated 19/09/2017 07:49 SAST

Pravin Gordhan Slams 'Captured' KPMG

The auditing firm contributed to 'state capture', Gordhan says.

Former finance minister Pravin Gordhan has slammed auditing firm KPMG after it announced this week that it was withdrawing a report about the South African Revenue Service (SARS), which was used as evidence in a police probe against him and led to the removal of senior staff, Bloomberg reports.

Gordhan said: "SARS became a political project and it is now run by people who have no idea how to manage a tax administration system. They don't know what skills are needed and how to use them."

SARS has been rocked by resignations of several senior executives since Tom Moyane was appointed as commissioner in 2014. Moyane clashed with Gordhan when he halted a restructuring plan at SARS during his time as finance minister.

It's part of "the whole conspiracy theory of replacing good people with bad to facilitate state capture", said Gordhan, who led the revenue service from 1999 until 2009, and wasn't the only victim of the report. He was investigated by police for his role in the set-up of the investigative unit, although no charges were ever brought.

Former acting commissioner Ivan Pillay, tax executive Johann van Loggerenberg and spokesperson Adrian Lackay resigned from SARS as KPMG began probing the allegedly covert unit.

"The witting and over-enthusiastic collaboration of senior KPMG personnel and their collusion with nefarious characters in SARS, in fact directly contributed to 'state capture'," Gordhan said.

"It should and must be remembered that this was about attacking SARS as an institution with the main intention being to capture it.

"Very good people were severely intimidated due to the KPMG report.

"The withdrawal of the report does not even begin to make amends for that and the pain they have gone through. It is high time that business, and especially professional firms such as KPMG, learn how to apologise properly and tell the whole truth. I shall be meeting with my lawyers in two days to consider our next step."