UK-based PR association to investigate Gupta-linked Bell Pottinger

2017-07-03 17:46
DA national spokesperson and Member of Parliament Phumzile van Damme. (Conrad Bornman, Gallo Images, Rapport)

DA national spokesperson and Member of Parliament Phumzile van Damme. (Conrad Bornman, Gallo Images, Rapport)

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Cape Town - Bell Pottinger will be investigated for ethically compromising practices, the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) said on Monday.

The investigation follows a complaint filed by the Democratic Alliance, PRCA director general Francis Ingham said in a statement.

"We will now begin the formal process set out in the PRCA Professional Charter and Code of Conduct to investigate this complaint," Ingham said.

In a series of leaked emails, commonly known as the #GuptaLeaks, Bell Pottinger is linked to drafting media responses in such a manner as to discredit South African media and protect the controversial Gupta family.

Bell Pottinger is a member of the PRCA.

SPECIAL REPORT: #GuptaLeaks

Racial hatred

In a statement on Sunday, the DA said it had written to British-based PRCA and Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) to lodge formal complaints against Bell Pottinger over allegations that they promoted racial hatred in SA.

"We urge the PRCA and the CIPR to fully investigate these allegations, as any attempt by a PR agency to ferment racial divisions in South Africa cannot be tolerated," spokesperson Phumzile van Damme said.

News24, Scorpio and Amabhungane have previously reported that the leaked emails indicated that a senior advisor at Bell Pottinger, Nick Lambert, highlighted "key moments" in a speech which was delivered by ANC Youth League leader Collin Maine.

Lambert referred to Maine's threat: That those who wanted to disrupt the President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation address should prepare themselves for civil war, as a "key moment".

#GuptaEmails: Read the documents here

Another email indicated that Bell Pottinger's financial and corporate partner, Victoria Geoghegan, had met with Zuma's son Duduzane Zuma to strategise a campaign aimed at marketing a "narrative that grabs the attention of the grassroots population who must identify with it, connect with it and feel united by it".

From the correspondence, it is seemed as though Bell Pottinger was probably requested by Zuma to undermine the ruling ANC's communication protocol in order to benefit the Gupta family, Van Damme said.

The ANC has previously called on government to establish the veracity of allegations contained in the Gupta emails.

In June, the Hawks said an elite group would be investigating the authenticity of the emails.

Read more on:    da  |  duduzane zuma  |  gupta brothers  |  politics  |  gupta emails  |  gupta leaks  |  state capture

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