Bell’s sanction ‘commendable’
It’s start of massive clean-up – FutureSA
BELL Pottinger’s expulsion this week from Britain’s Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) should serve as a warning to local PR companies to research new clients, its equivalent South African body has warned.
“They should also understand the scope of the work they will have to do,” said Kavitha Kalicharan, president of the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa.
She called the British body’s decision “commendable”.
“We fully support the sanction that was handed down to Bell Pottinger.
“It speaks for itself that it was the most serious sanction delivered.”
Kalicharan added that Prisa would have followed the same route, had it been in PRCA’s shoes, and that non-compliance happened in any industry.
“We’ll always have some who operate unethically.”
Earlier during the saga, when it was discovered that Bell Pottinger had fostered racial divisions in South Africa in the promotion of its client, the Gupta-owned Oakbay, Kalicharan said the saga had highlighted the need for regulation of the public relations industry and for all professionals to adhere to the code of ethics.
“Prisa finds it disheartening that a lack of accountability has been demonstrated,” she said.
The controversial Gupta family is said to be linked to state capture.
Bell Pottinger promoted the term “white monopoly capital” as a reference to the notion that whites owned most of the country’s economy.
Meanwhile, FutureSA has welcomed the board of the Institute of Direc- tors in Southern Africa’s (IoDSA) decision to suspend co-branded activities with KPMG.
“The decision will see IoDSA temporarily suspend activities involving KPMG’s sponsorship of its golf day and KPMG’s involvement in the audit committee forum, pending further investigation.
“The investigation will be conducted by the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors,” FutureSA said yesterday.
The announcement came in the wake of the #GuptaLeaks exposé revealing that KPMG failed to pick up that funds from the Free State government meant for a dairy farm project largely paid for the R30 million Gupta wedding.
There was an uproar after the wealthy, politically-connected family used the Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria to land an aircraft carrying guests going to the sumptuous wedding.
“We must commend the IoDSA for taking a stance against KMPG, as well as others who have now disassociated with the auditing firm.
“We also welcome the investigation by the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors.
“This forms part of ongoing action and pressure that needs to be put on all those involved in, or covering up, corruption and state capture,” FutureSA convenor Mandla Nkomfe said.
“We also welcome the termination of [British PR firm] Bell Pottinger’s membership from the [British] Public Relations and Communications Association following reports of how the public relations firm exploited racial divisions in South Africa through their work for a Gupta-linked company.
“The concern expressed by members of Britain’s House of Lords over the Bell Pottinger issue, as well as the tough stance taken by some businesses to sever ties with the PR firm, sends a strong message that supporting projects that aim to exploit divisions and derail a country’s democratic project are unacceptable,” Nkomfe said.
“The depth of state capture through the practices and dealings by the Gupta family have undermined and seriously damaged the sovereignty of our democracy.
“The revelations and actions taken against KPMG and Bell Pottinger show us that this is just the start of a massive clean-up process that needs to occur to eliminate the mess of state capture.
“While some regulatory bodies and businesses have heard the voices of ordinary South Africans calling for action, we think it’s high time that the country’s leadership does the same by getting rid of politicians who have promoted state capture, benefitted from it, or protected those involved in it.
“Investigations into state capture must be prioritised.
“Businesses found to be involved must be penalised.
“Individuals found to be guilty must be prosecuted.
“We cannot allow those who have sought to corrupt our democracy to get off scotfree,” Nkomfe said.
“INVESTIGATIONS INTO STATE CAPTURE MUST BE PRIORITISED