Thapelo Lekabe
Digital Journalist
2 minute read
21 Jul 2017
3:43 pm

Guptas deny links to Bell Pottinger’s white monopoly capital campaign

Thapelo Lekabe

This is the first time the family has responded to allegations contained in the leaked #GuptaEmails.

Ajay and Atul Gupta. File photo

The controversial Gupta family accused of state capture has for the first time denied allegations that it helped fuel racial tensions in South Africa through its former public relations company, Bell Pottinger, saying allegations it was behind the divisive white monopoly capital campaign were false and part of a political smear campaign.

In an interview with the BBC’s News Night broadcast on Thursday night, the family’s spokesperson Gary Naidoo denied links to the London-based PR firm and the use of fake Twitter bots to manipulate the news agenda in the country to divert attention from the family and their relationship with President Jacob Zuma.

Since a trove of email correspondence between the Gupta brothers and their associates, between 100 000 and 200 000, were leaked to the media in late May, the family has refrained from commenting on the damning emails detailing their trail of state capture involving politicians and officials at state-owned companies.

Earlier this month, Bell Pottinger apologised to South Africans for the work they did for the Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments and admitted some of its work for the Guptas was inappropriate and offensive. It said in a statement its senior management was also misled about the work on the Oakbay account.

On Tuesday, the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) set a date for a hearing against Bell Pottinger after the DA filed a complaint with the regulator for ethically compromising practices.

PRCA director-general Francis Igham said the association’s professional practices committee had decided to hold a hearing on the case with both parties on August 18.

The presenter of the BBC’s news documentary, Andrew Harding, on Thursday tweeted on Naidoo’s responses.

Watch the video below:

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