'Tell South Africa what you know' - Letter to Bell Pottinger

18 July 2017 - 14:19 By Timeslive
A logo of Oakbay Investments is seen at the entrance of their offices in Sandton, outside Johannesburg.
A logo of Oakbay Investments is seen at the entrance of their offices in Sandton, outside Johannesburg.
Image: SIPHIWE SIBEKO

Three public advocacy groups - Section27‚ the Helen Suzman Foundation and Save South Africa - are taking joint action over the probe into Bell Pottinger’s conduct in South Africa.

The groups 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.

They have now sent a letter to 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 action follows the Democratic Alliance lodging a complaint with the UK regulatory body that it violated the Public Relations and Communications Association’s (PRCA) professional charter and code of conduct.

The PR firm was pressured into dropping the Guptas as clients after it emerged that terms such as “white monopoly capital” had derived from the UK-based consultants. Bell Pottinger has also been accused of being behind campaigns targeting journalists who have been critical of the Guptas.

The three NGOs said in a statement on Tuesday they intend "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".

"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."

A copy of the letter to Bell Pottinger can be found here

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