Pay back the money – DA after Bell Pottinger CEO’s resignation

2017-09-03 22:37
Phumzile van Damme. (Conrad Bornman, Gallo Images, Rapport, File)

Phumzile van Damme. (Conrad Bornman, Gallo Images, Rapport, File)

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Cape Town – If James Henderson truly appreciated the implications of Bell Pottinger propaganda in South Africa, he would repay the R20 million the PR firm reportedly earned from the Gupta family, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Sunday.

Henderson resigned as CEO of Bell Pottinger over the weekend ahead of an independent report’s publication on Monday which looked at the firm’s work for the controversial Gupta family, the Financial Times reported.

Henderson ordered an investigation into the firm’s dealings with the family in July.

In a statement, DA spokesperson Phumzile Van Damme said Henderson’s resignation should not be seen as heroic.

She criticised Henderson, who owns 40% of Bell Pottinger, for failure to release the independent report by the end of August.

“Henderson is on record stating that he would publicly release the report… by the end of August. August has ended and no report has been released,” Van Damme said.

“Instead, we receive news of his resignation, a move no doubt designed to appease. The DA is not appeased.”

The DA lodged a complaint against Bell Pottinger with the British-based Public and Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) after the Gupta-leaks implicated the firm in manipulating racial distrust in South Africa for Gupta gain.

In a series of emails, the firm is linked to drafting media responses in such a manner as to discredit South African media and protect the controversial Gupta family.

In July, nearly four days after the independent investigation was launched, Bell Pottinger dismissed the lead partner involved with the Gupta’s account and suspended another partner and two employees.

“As soon as we were made aware that we had been misled and that work was being done which goes against the very core of our ethical policies, we acted immediately,” the firm said in a statement at the time.

On August 24, Bell Pottinger was found guilty by the UK’s Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) violating its Professional Charter and/or its Public Affairs and Lobbying Code of Conduct.

Bell Pottinger is appealing the sentence.

Read more on:    da  |  bell pottinger  |  gupta family

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