Dis­ci­plinary hear­ing for Bell Pot­tinger

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS -

UK-BASED PR com­pany Bell Pot­tinger’s (BP) “hate­ful pro­pa­ganda cam­paign”, al­legedly in aid of the Gupta fam­ily, could have ram­i­fi­ca­tions as the firm faces a dis­ci­plinary hear­ing next month in the UK.

The DA an­nounced yes­ter­day that the Pub­lic Re­la­tions and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions As­so­ci­a­tion, a trade group for UK PR firms, will in­sti­tute a hear­ing against BP fol­low­ing the DA’s com­plaint that the PR firm had “sowed racial di­vi­sions in South Africa”.

This re­lates to the year’s ser­vice it of­fered Oak­bay Cap­i­tal, the Gupta fam­ily’s in­vest­ment com­pany, where, ac­cord­ing to the DA’s Phumzile Van Damme, the com­pany “de­signed and car­ried out a hate­ful and di­vi­sive cam­paign for the Gup­tas and Zu­mas in our coun­try, which is still deal­ing with a very painful past”.

Van Damme said her party and BP were re­quired to sub­mit sum­maries of their re­spec­tive cases for ev­i­dence con­sid­er­a­tion within 10 days from yes­ter­day.

BP had it­self is­sued an apol­ogy ear­lier this month when an­nounc­ing the ter­mi­na­tion of its ser­vices to Oak­bay, where the firm is­sued a “full, un­equiv­o­cal and ab­so­lute apol­ogy” for so­cial me­dia cam­paigns that it deemed to be “in­ap­pro­pri­ate and of­fen­sive”.

The com­pany stated it had hired law firm Her­bert Smith Free­hills to launch an in­quiry into its so­cial me­dia ac­count.

Mean­while, the He­len Suz­man Foun­da­tion and civil groups Sec­tion27 and Save SA said yes­ter­day they had writ­ten a let­ter to BP’s chief ex­ec­u­tive to re­quest “ac­cess to the terms of ref­er­ence and all in­for­ma­tion which will form the ba­sis of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion” for the groups’ in­ten­tion to make rep­re­sen­ta­tions to UK reg­u­la­tory bod­ies to un­der­stand “the so­cial, eco­nomic and po­ten­tial le­gal im­pli­ca­tions of BP’s con­duct”. – Staff Reporter

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