UK-based PR firm Bell Pottinger’s allegedly visited South Africa last year on a four-day boot camp to help the Gupta's, ANC Youth League (ANCYL) and the MK Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), according to the leaked Gupta emails.
Investigative journalism units Scorpio and amaBhungane report that Bell Pottinger staff flew to Johannesburg from London between February 3 and February 7 2016.
Amabhungane journalist Micah Reddy explains that while Bell Pottinger was ostensibly hired by Gupta-owned Oakbay, the firm was doing work geared towards trying to rescue the image of the Zuma and Gupta families.
They were drafting press statements for the MK Military Veterans Association which has been strident in its defence of both Zuma and the Guptas.— Micah Reddy, Investigative Journalist at Amabhungane
They appeared to be working with the Guptas in drafting talking points for ANCYL President Collen Maine as well.— Micah Reddy, Investigative Journalist at Amabhungane
It's absolutely clear cut that Bell Pottinger was calling a lot of the shots.— Micah Reddy, Investigative Journalist at Amabhungane
Reddy described the evidence showing how Bell Pottinger helped orchestrate a PR message defending the Zuma/Gupta faction.
According to documents, he says Bell Pottinger was on a contract for £100 000 (approximately R1 648 226) per month.
In April, the firm announced that it cut ties with Oakbay Investments and the Guptas.
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