SA organisations want information on which probe into Bell Pottinger will be based
Three organisations – the Helen Suzman Foundation‚ Section27 and Save South Africa – have jointly approached UK public relations firm Bell Pottinger with a request for access to all the information that will form the basis of an investigation into work it did for the Gupta-owned company Oakbay.
The organisations said on Tuesday that they had noted noted Bell Pottinger’s “unequivocal and absolute apology” of last week‚ in relation to the work it had undertaken over the past year for Oakbay and the fact that it has commissioned an international law firm to review the work done in that regard.
“The above three organisations‚ acting jointly‚ have now approached Bell Pottinger with a request for access to the terms of reference and all information which will form the basis of the investigation which is to be undertaken by the law firm Herbert Smith Freehills LLP.
“This request flows from the intention of the Helen Suzman Foundation‚ Section27 and Save South Africa‚ to make recommendations to the relevant UK regulatory bodies‚ in order to assist these bodies in coming to a proper understanding of the social‚ economic and potential legal implications of Bell Pottinger’s conduct‚” Francis Antonie‚ Director at The Helen Suzman Foundation said.
He said the three South African public interest organisations were concerned that the impact of Bell Pottinger’s conduct should be viewed in the correct context by Bell Pottinger’s own senior management‚ by the UK regulatory bodies and by the public at large.
“In arriving at any conclusions about Bell Pottinger’s conduct‚ it is plainly necessary to have an appropriately informed understanding of South Africa’s constitutional project‚ the legal framework‚ its history regarding race and sectarian politics‚ andthe challenges which the country faces.
“These organisations are hopeful that‚ in light of the expressed commitment in its apology to accountability and transparency‚ Bell Pottinger will respond positively to their approach‚” Antonie added.