Bell Pottinger boss is no hero for stepping down - DA

04 September 2017 - 08:23
By Timeslive
Bell Pottinger logo. File photo.
Image: Wikimedia Commons Bell Pottinger logo. File photo.

The Democratic Alliance is not happy about the resignation of Bell Pottinger CEO James Henderson.

Henderson's resignation was announced ahead of a report into his UK firm's conduct in South Africa‚ where it has been accused of fuelling racial tensions.

"James Henderson's decision to relinquish his role as CEO of Bell Pottinger is not in any way an act of valour - he owns 40% of the public relations firm and remains a majority shareholder‚" DA communications spokesperson Phumzile van Damme said in a statement.

"If Henderson had truly appreciated the implications of their propaganda in South Africa‚ he would repay the £1‚200‚000 (approximately R20 million) it earned from the Gupta family and President Jacob Zuma's son‚ Duduzane Zuma‚ for the benefit of South Africa as the DA requested."

The report‚ due on Tuesday‚ follows a complaint lodged by the DA with the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA)‚ an industry body.

Van Damme said Henderson had failed to release a report compiled by Herbert Smith Freehills LLP3‚ the law firm appointed by Bell Pottinger to audit the Gupta account.

Henderson had promise to release the report by the end of August.

"Full disclosure of the nature of the contract it entered into with Zuma and the Guptas would have demonstrated goodwill and willingness to begin to repair the damage their work caused to South Africa‚" Van Damme said.

"August has ended and no report has been released. Instead‚ we receive news of his resignation‚ a move no doubt‚ designed to appease. The DA is not appeased."

Van Damme said the party may take further action against Bell Pottinger.