Late on Thursday evening, PR firm Bell Pottinger released a statement, apologising after an accusation that stirred racial tension in South Africa. Bell Pottinger says that it’s angered by the initial findings and regrets the way it ran a social media campaign highlighting the issue of economic emancipation in South Africa.
The agency admits these activities should never have been undertaken and says it is "deeply sorry" that it has happened.
EWN reporter, Rahima Essop says that pressure has resulted in an investigation that was launched by the agency itself, requesting a law firm to review its account.
UK based regulatory bodies have been asked to investigate Bell Pottinger as well. That complaint was lodged by the Democratic Alliance (DA).— Rahima Essop, EWN reporter
There have also been repeated calls for the firm to explain its dealings with Gupta businesses, President Zuma's son as well as the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL)— Rahima Essop, EWN reporter
Chris Vick, crisis manager and reputation consultant, says the reality is that Bell Pottinger is the global champion for running dirty tricks.
They run dirty tricks for the CIA, for the Pentagon in Latin America, Nigeria, Malawi and Europe. This is their bread and butter. Their bread and butter is to do geo-political work, not conventional PR.— Chris Vick, crisis manager and reputation consultant
If you look at an organisation like Black First Land First (BLF) they are the ugly step children of the ugly Bell Pottinger project. According to the South African Communist Party (SACP), BLF and the so-called decolonisation foundation were funded by Bell Pottinger says Vick.
Vick goes on to say that public pressure forced them to cancel their account with Oakbay Investments. He goes on to say there needs to be full disclosure followed by criminal actions against the culprits.
Let's also not forget, Bell Pottinger didn't just arrive last year they've been around South Africa since 1994.— Chris Vick, crisis manager and reputation consultant
These guys should be persona non grata.— Chris Vick, crisis manager and reputation consultant
Listen to the full analysis in the audio below: