Panafrican News Agency

South Africa: UK PR company on the ropes over major SA race scandal

Cape Town, South Africa (PANA) – UK-based Public Relations company, Bell Pottinger, is reeling under the fallout of the biggest political scandal in South African history, according to a PANA report on Monday.

The company, hired by President Jacob Zuma’s son, Duduzane, has been exposed following the leak of hundreds of thousands of damning e-mails from the Oakbay company, owned by the powerful Gupta family.

Bell Pottinger coined the phrase “white minority capital” in an attempt to turn attention away from the growing scandal over President Jacob Zuma’s relationship with the Gupta family.

The wealthy Indian family which arrived penniless in South Africa in 1995, made a fortune by securing lucrative government contracts.

In a detailed statement, the company apologised, saying at various points throughout the tenure of the Oakbay account, that senior management have been misled about what has been done.

“For it to be done in South Africa, a country which has become an international beacon of hope for its progress towards racial reconciliation, is a matter of profound regret and in no way reflects the values of Bell Pottinger," it said in a statement.

The company is now facing the UK-based Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) regarding allegations that it fuelled racial tensions in South Africa.

The official opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) which laid the complaint with PRCA said the company has until Thursday to submit written observations relating to the PRCA’s Professional Charter and Code of Conduct.

DA MP Phumzile Van Damme said if Bell Pottinger’s apology is to be taken seriously, the company would fully disclose all dealings with the Gupta family and President Zuma.

“More pertinently, they would commit to using all profits obtained from Gupta business deals to invest in building schools or any developmental NGOs in South Africa,” she said.

Another opposition party, the Freedom Front Plus (FFP), on Monday said it plans to lodge a criminal complaint against Bell Pottinger for “terrorism”. The FFP said it believes the firm has a case to answer under the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Act.
-0- PANA CU/VAO 10July2017