South Africa: KPMG Celebrates 20 Years At The Forefront Of Forensics

Last Updated: 13 December 2013
Article by Petrus Marais

Forensic accounting may not sound like an exciting line of work, but as early as 1993 KPMG has led the industry in this field. Over the past twenty years, the firm has been involved in some of the toughest and publically high profile investigations in South Africa, including the criminal prosecution cases of Greg Blank, General Selebi, Allan Boesak and Shabir Shaik. 

In the early 90s, a few of the then "Big Six" accounting and auditing firms had established or were establishing investigative practices globally – but only in developed markets. Recognising an opportunity, KPMG was the first of the Big Six to establish a full time dedicated Forensics business in South Africa, September of 1993.

Since the 90s in many respects the business and market landscape has changed substantially, where this has created new opportunities, as well as new risks and potential threats. Forensics can help a client reduce their reputational risks and commercial loss resulting from potential fraud, misconduct or breaches of rules and regulations, by applying accounting investigation intelligence, technology and industry skills.

According to one of the founding members and today Global Leader of KPMG Forensic and, Forensic Chairman for Africa and South Africa, Petrus Marais, "We are very excited to be celebrating not only our 20th anniversary, but twenty years of leading this industry in South Africa."

As a mature national practice, the business followed a progressive growth path that was influenced – in part by global trends and developments, but – predominantly by demand in the country for capabilities to handle larger and more complex forensics assignments. KPMG was also retained to perform high profile investigations at Cricket SA and JCI.

Marais explains, "While other players had started to establish forensics businesses in the local market in the late '90s, the forensic investigative and accounting industry matured around 2006. Until this point, our competitors mainly followed our lead. In many respects, we put down the groundwork to create what is a growing industry today – where a number of other business practices and firms in the market have spun off from our business."

Our greatest successes can be attributed to our people and our investments

Having been around the longest, KPMG Forensics business has grown to be the largest practice in the market – double the size of most other players in this space. Currently the business has 16 partners and over 200 staff members, all dedicated to forensic work. The staff skills base and related services on offer has grown extensively over the last twenty years to include, Fraud Prevention and Detection specialists, Ethics consultants and an Ethics Hotline, Anti-Money Laundering and Anti Bribery and Corruption specialists and, most importantly, world class technology specialists.

According to Johan van der Walt, Partner in KPMG's Forensics, "One the most dramatic and important developments and changes within the forensic business was the introduction of a significant Forensic Technology capability to perform forensic investigations, evidence collating activities and data management services. The days of paper investigations are over and it is required from a market leading forensic team to be able to work seamlessly across various data platforms to obtain relevant evidence and information, which is why we now have 30 dedicated on staff technologist or IT experts in our national team."

We are passionate about talent

"From our South African lead partner also representing the global head of KPMG Forensics practices, to our commitment to transformation and skills promotion and development – we are passionate about talent", says Herman de Beer, KPMG Service Group Leader: Risk Consulting.

More than 56 percent of the staff complement that makes up our national Forensics team is female – where 5 of the 16 partners are female - and 42 percent of the staff is Black (African, Indian and Coloured).

Further to this, KPMG recently launched the first internship for Forensics practitioners, where suitably qualified students from various universities across South Africa are recruited and signed on for a three year intern programme to develop the skills required of young forensics accountants and investigators. The business currently has 20 such interns completing their first year.

Tracking our footprints northward

KPMG was the first of the big four to offer Forensics services in Africa with an investigation into Danisco in Tanzania in 1999. Today, about 20 percent of the business's fees for 2013 where generated beyond the South African border.

"Broadening our reach and presence throughout Africa is a key strategic imperative for us. Some years back we established a mentorship programme to expand our resources on the continent. Though we saw great success from this programme in English speaking Africa, we are expanding on this programme to increase our individual relationships and build sustainable local practices in several countries or regions across the continent over the next ten and twenty years", concludes Marais

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Mondaq Advice Centre (MACs)
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.