Coca-Cola SA bottling unit severs ties with McKinsey over Gupta probe

Johannesburg - Coca-Cola's South African bottling unit isn’t awarding business to consultants McKinsey & Co. pending the outcome of probes into the US consultancy’s work involving the politically connected Gupta family.

Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa hasn’t given a contract to McKinsey sine June 2017 and has no historic work ongoing with the firm, communications director Tshidi Ramogase said in emailed comments on Thursday. “This decision will stand until investigations are complete,” she said.

McKinsey said in October it had made “several errors of judgment” while working with South African state power provider Eskom and pledged to review its practices in the country. The company is accused of wrongdoing related to work with Eskom and Trillian Capital Partners, which is linked to the Guptas.

The family is accused of using their friendship with President Jacob Zuma to win lucrative contracts from state companies, which they and Zuma deny.

READ: McKinsey admits lapse in judgement, but denies corruption

The Coca-Cola unit’s decision was first reported by The Financial Times, which also said Johannesburg-based oil and gas company Sasol had made a similar move. Spokespeople for McKinsey and Sasol didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

A South African parliamentary inquiry into contracts awarded by Eskom is underway, while a probe by the state’s Special Investigating Unit has been announced but is yet to start.

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