Nonkululeko Gobodo. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
Nonkululeko Gobodo. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

NONKULULEKO Gobodo, the last founding member of SA’s largest black-owned accounting firm, has stepped down to pursue other business interests.

This marks the end of an era at SizweNtsalubaGobodo (SNG) as Ms Gobodo’s tenure as executive chairwoman ended earlier this month. She is selling her stake in the business.

The firm will keep its name and will continue to be led by CEO Victor Sekese.

"Nonku volunteered to relinquish the chairmanship, allowing a new nonexecutive chair to proceed. She is happy with what she has achieved. She is still available to assist us," Mr Sekese said.

Ms Gobodo said she would be replaced by an independent nonexecutive chairman and that her departure was part of a transition from the merger.

In 2011 SizweNtsaluba VSP, founded by FirstRand CEO Sizwe Nxasana and entrepreneur and Amabubesi director Sango Ntsaluba, merged with Gobodo Incorporated. Ms Gobodo, SA’s first black female chartered accountant, was the last co-founder to remain in the business after Mr Nxasana and Mr Ntsaluba sold out.

"We have reached that stage where we have to have one leader. In our governance structures we said we wanted a nonexecutive chair," she said. She will stay on for the next 12 months to ensure a smooth transition.

During her tenure SNG was awarded a five-year multimillion-rand audit contract by Transnet and announced plans to expand into the rest of the continent.

Although SNG recruited top talent, it came under fire for employing then firing former national director of public prosecutions Vusi Pikoli. Ms Gobodo has denied bowing to pressure from the government and has said SNG took a business decision as Mr Pikoli’s battles were not those of the firm. He had been removed from office by former president Thabo Mbeki.

Asked what she would do with her shareholding at SNG, Ms Gobodo said: "In terms of our structure you are a shareholder and a director. When you leave the firm you sell your shares. It’s a professional requirement."

She said she was happy with the legacy she was leaving. "For me it’s a sense of fulfilment in achieving my dream of a big black accounting firm. It represents authentic black success. I’m leaving this merger a success."

SNG, which has annual revenue of more than R500m, is ranked among the country’s top five accounting firms.