Key Zuma witness and auditor Johan van der Walt dies

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article

Top auditor and author of the forensic report that forms the basis of former president Jacob Zuma's upcoming corruption trial, Johan van der Walt, has died in Johannesburg.

The audit profession is reeling after the sudden passing of Van der Walt, who was the senior managing director of FTI Consulting at the time of his death on Saturday.

READ | Not 'unreasonable' that Zuma's armed spy army was behind last month's unrest - Ramaphosa

It was still unclear what caused Van der Walt's death, but sources close to family said he had died of natural causes.

Van der Walt had a long and complicated history as a partner and forensic auditor at KPMG, before he joined FTI in 2017.

After building a reputation of a "bloodhound" auditor, who oversaw the Saambou, Schabir Shaik and Zuma forensic probes, Van der Walt left KPMG after a bitter divorce over the firm's controversial probe into the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

He led the investigation into the now debunked "rogue unit" at SARS and was heavily criticised by former SARS officials, minister Pravin Gordhan and KPMG for his approach and findings.

Johan van der Walt has died.
Johan van der Walt has died.

Main witness

At the time, his report was used by supporters of Zuma to justify the removal of Gordhan as finance minister and the shutting down of the SARS investigating unit.

KPMG distanced itself from Van der Walt's report and he left the firm. He defended his investigation to an inquiry led by advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza.

Ironically, Van der Walt was lined up to be the main witness against Zuma when his corruption trial resumes in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Pietermaritzburg later this month. 

News24 understands that he had consulted with prosecutors in preparation for the trial. 

As the author of KPMG's forensic investigation into money flows between Shaik and Zuma, Van der Walt would have been the State's chief witness in the trial, as he was in Shaik's trial. 

He famously told Judge Hilary Squires in that case in 2004 that he was not a watchdog, but a bloodhound.

He is survived by his wife and three sons.

• This is a developing story.

Never miss a story. Choose from our range of newsletters to get the news you want delivered straight to your inbox.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Facebook is facing a fresh crisis after a former employee turned whistle-blower leaked internal company research. Do you still use Facebook?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, the benefits outweigh the risk for me
32% - 2583 votes
No, I have deleted it
38% - 3069 votes
Yes, but I am considering deleting it
31% - 2503 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
14.52
+0.1%
Rand - Pound
20.03
+0.0%
Rand - Euro
16.89
-0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.85
-0.2%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.2%
Gold
1,774.19
+0.3%
Silver
23.82
+0.6%
Palladium
2,089.44
-0.7%
Platinum
1,042.50
-0.1%
Brent Crude
85.08
+0.9%
Top 40
60,190
0.0%
All Share
66,776
0.0%
Resource 10
63,288
0.0%
Industrial 25
84,981
0.0%
Financial 15
14,022
0.0%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE