The Democratic Alliance and civic groups on Tuesday celebrated a victory against UK public relations firm Bell Pottinger‚ which has been kicked out of an industry body for five years.
The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) announced the decision at 1am on Tuesday‚ delivering its harshest possible sanction.
The DA warned Bell Pottinger that the battle was far from over.
“This ruling is by no means an indication that Bell Pottinger is off the hook just yet. Bell Pottinger must take responsibility for their actions and disclose all information regarding their Oakbay Capital account and reinvest all monies from their Oakbay account back into South Africa‚” DA communications spokesperson Phumzile van Damme said in a statement.
“The DA is exploring further steps that can be taken to force the full disclosure.”
Lobby group Save SA said: “Bell Pottinger got what it deserved. Now South Africa deserves to know what really happened.”
Save SA demanded full disclosure‚ including:
•Who Bell Pottinger collaborated with in South Africa.
•What their brief was from Duduzane Zuma‚ President Jacob’s son.
•What their specific mandate was from Oakbay and the Gupta family.
•The nature of their relationship with the Guptas’ “propaganda vehicles”‚ TV channel ANN7 and The New Age newspaper.
•Whether they continue to do work for the Guptas and Duduzane Zuma.
•Why they have not responded to reports that they channelled money to groups linked to the Guptas‚ like the Decolonisation Foundation and Black First Land First.
The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) said it didn’t buy the excuse that Bell Pottinger’s senior management were unaware of the Gupta campaign.
“We find it inconceivable that an entire nation learned of how Bell Pottinger was able to engineer a misleading and deceitful PR campaign that would further the aims of a private family (the Guptas) to benefit from state capture‚ whilst senior leadership was seemingly oblivious to this conduct for as long as they were‚” Outa said.
The PRCA investigated allegations by the DA that Bell Pottinger had “exploited racial divisions on behalf of the Gupta family”. Pushing the term “white monopoly capital” was a key part of its campaign.
Leaked Gupta e-mails suggest that the aim was to divert attention from the allegations of state capture levelled at the Gupta business empire. In the process‚ Bell Pottinger’s campaign fuelled racial divisions.
Source: TMG Digital.