Bell Pottinger booted out of PRCA in 'damning' ruling by trade body

Bell Pottinger booted out of PRCA in 'damning' ruling by trade body

The Bell Pottinger team had used phrases such as "white monopoly capital" to promote the Oakbay campaign, raising wider concerns that the PR firm was instrumental in stirring racial tensions in the country.

"Bell Pottinger has brought the PR and communications industry into disrepute with its actions, and it has received the harshest possible sanctions", said the association's director general Francis Ingram.

"This is a clear indication that the South African society at large was right to express outrage and disgust at the conduct of both the Gupta family and Bell Pottinger, about their carefully and purposefully planned social media strategy to inflame racial discord in South Africa", said OUTA's Chairperson, Wayne Duvenage.

South African President Jacob Zuma has faced corruption allegations and suspicion over his ties with the Guptas.

The firm has been the subject of criticism in the past due to the controversial regimes on their client roster and a 2011 report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism which revealed that Bell Pottinger executives had said they were able to doctor Google search results to push down potentially damaging coverage of human rights violations.

"Particularly to ensure that Bell Pottinger gives full disclosure of the accounts that they had with the Guptas so we're exploring all the options that are available to us".

Van Damme led the DA's charge against Bell Pottinger, and sitting in her office early on Tuesday morning after the PRCA rejected Bell Pottinger's appeal the day before, she says the DA is not done yet. That was until it got to South Africa where a robust media and a cottage industry of internet sleuths quickly uncovered their campaign.

Take all reasonable care that professional duties are conducted without causing offence on the grounds of gender, race, religion, disability or any other form of discrimination or unacceptable reference. For the next 20 years they will always be remembered as the guys who did this.

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Former chairman of public relations firm Bell Pottinger‚ Lord Tim Bell‚ has distanced himself from a contract his former company signed with Gupta-owned company Oakbay.

The PR firm can not reapply to join the PRCA for at least five years after it was found to have breached two clauses of the organisation's professional charter and two clauses of its code of conduct.

Lord Bell, who founded Bell Pottinger in the 1990s, resigned previous year, partly due to his unease with the company's deal with the Guptas.

Bell Pottinger declined to comment.

The future of Bell Pottinger is in question after a scandal involving a campaign in South Africa.

James Henderson, who has a 40 per cent stake in the business, resigned on Monday, according to a statement.

Asked by presenter Kirsty Wark the peer replied: "I think it can best be summed up by Walter Scott: "What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive".

Bell Pottinger is facing an exodus of clients as companies seek to distance themselves from the disgraced PR firm.

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