Is Bell Pottinger's apology enough?


Bell Pottinger.

JOHANNESBURG - There have been more reactions to UK-based PR firm Bell Pottinger's apology to South Africa.

The company issued a statement on Thursday, expressing regret for supporting campaigns to stir up racial divisions in the country.

It's said to be behind the phrase white monopoly capital, while doing work for Gupta-owned Oakbay Capital.

Bell Pottinger says it's cut ties with Gupta family owned Oakbay Capital.

The UK based PR firm has also expressed regret for aiding campaigns to stir up racial division in South Africa.

READ: South Africans protest outside Bell Pottinger offices in London

But, not everyone believes that is management was in the dark about the Gupta account.

"If senior management wasn't aware of what was happening in SA, why were they not aware?" asked eNCA UK correspondent, Olly Barret. "Either way that seems to be a major failure of Bell Pottinger, the fact that management didn’t what exactly was happening regarding social media campaign. A lot of key questions after that statement they released."

Our UK team was due to interview Bell Pottinger's Chief executive this morning. At the last minute the company cancelled the interview.


Bell Pottinger has suspended three employees, among them a senior partner, as part of an internal probe.

Local public relations expert Chris Vick, however, doesn't believe the apology is sincere. 

"They have a history of doing this thing all over the world," he said. "They have done in in Asia, Latin America etc, to think you can just apologise for something that's clearly core part of your business is a bit naive and mischievous and hiding behind the notion that they were misled."

The company has appointed a law firm to review the work done for the Gupta family.

Some believe the company needs to give a detailed account of the extent of the campaign spearheaded by the controversial family.

"I don't believe Bell Pottinger would operate with informing its clients what they were doing," said Sby Ngalwa, Daily Dispatch Editor. "This must have been part of their strategy all along. We now know from the Gupta emails that they worked with Pres Zuma and asked to help his son, push is PR. If they're serious about their apology, they must give full disclosure of what exactly they were doing and the extent of it."

The DA says it wants much more than an apology from British P-R firm, Bell Pottinger.


Meanwhile, Communications Minister Ayanda Dlodlo said Bell Pottinger took advantage of the racial tensions in South Africa to advance its campaign for Gupta-owned Oakbay.

But, the minister said the company's efforts to apologise were commendable.

South Africans have had a lot to say on the apology on Twitter.

READ: UK authority to investigate Bell Pottinger

Bell Pottinger says its internal probe will be completed in the coming weeks.