Weekly Xposé Team
Higher Education and Training Minister and South African Communist Party boss Blade Nzimande’s son Nkululeko Nzimande is reaping huge financial rewards, allegedly as a result of his father’s political influence. Sources have told Weekly Xposé that Nkululeko, who is employed by auditing firm Ernst & Young (EY), rose rapidly through the ranks of the company after qualifying as an accountant in 2015.
A well-placed insider said Nzimande junior was quickly promoted and is now manager in financial accounting advisory services (FAAS), “despite not completing his core 3 600 hours as required by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA). “He has also taken many leaves and is barely in office,” said the insider. The source said Nzimande’s rapid promotion was a a result of him bringing big clients to the company.
Weekly Xposé understands that among Nkululeko’s big clients are several institutions of higher learning and the Auditor General, who it is alleged has outsourced a huge chunk of his work to Ernst & Young to the tune of millions. The source said another big client of Nkululeko is the National Metrology Institute of South Africa (NMISA) Nkululeko was not available for comment as he did not answer his cellphone.
Ernst & Young CEO Ajen Sita declined to answer questions emailed to him. The company’s Africa media relations manager Fathima Naidoo said: “Ernst & Young takes its responsibilities to our people and clients very seriously and we do not respond to spurious allegations. Due to our obligation in respect of employee confidentiality, we do not disclose any information relating to current staff or those who are no longer in our employ.”
In his response, NMISA CEO Ndwakhulu Mukhufhi said Ernst & Young had previously served as NMISA’s independent external auditors to conduct the audit of the organisation’s financial statements. “Their audit term was for the period 2012/13 to 2015/16. Their contract has expired and NMISA has recently appointed new external auditors to conduct a statutory audit for the 2016/17 financial year in line with NMISA’s procurement policy.” “The Ernst & Young engagement partner on NMISA contract was Mr Kuben Moodley with Mr Kavinesh Manicum serving as the senior audit manager.” Mukhufhi admitted that Nkululeko Nzimande was the audit manager for for the final year of the contract (2015/16), “taking over from Ms Megan de Kock who served in this role for the preceding years.” Mukhufhi stressed that engagement partners were appointed by the auditing firms and not NMISA.
Asked if the institution was put under any political pressure to do business with Ernest & Young as a result of its association with Minister Nzimande’s son, Mukhufhi said: “NMISA was under no political pressure whatsoever to do business with Ernst & Young Inc. The appointment of the company followed the normal NMISA procurement processes that is aligned to National Treasury Regulations and Guidelines. NMISA reports to the Department of Trade and Industry and not the Department of Higher Education and Training.”
Auditor General Kimi Makwetu’s spokesman Africa Boso did not respond to several emails sent to him and attempts at calls during the week.