Ramaphosa 'not aware' of any Bell Pottinger-ANC links

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says he is not aware of any occasion when the ANC might have contracted the services of under fire PR ...


Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says he is not aware of any occasion when the ANC might have contracted the services of under fire PR firm Bell Pottinger.

DA MP Phumzile van Damme asked Ramaphosa during a question session in Parliament if the ANC had ever utilised the UK firm's services, given that the ANC Youth League "had received advice" from the company.

"We know that the real clients of Bell Pottinger were the ANC and not Oakbay," she claimed in the House on Wednesday, referring to the Gupta family's investment firm.

Ramaphosa was adamant that, as far as he knew, there was no such agreement.

"I am not aware that Bell Pottinger gave advice to the African National Congress," he responded.

"If they did so, as deputy president of the ANC I would have been aware. But I am not aware of that.

"If it did happen, and was possibly not disclosed to me, we would have found it very strange that they had given advice to the African National Congress."

Sanction, resignations

Bell Pottinger's membership of the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) was terminated on Monday for bringing the PRCA into disrepute.

This following a PRCA investigation launched on July 5 into the firm's contentious campaign on behalf of Oakbay Investments and the Gupta family, following a complaint from the DA.

The embattled firm will not be eligible to reapply for corporate membership of the PRCA for a minimum period of five years, the harshest possible sanction.

Investors have also started to dump the company, Fin24 reported on Wednesday.

The DA's complaint stemmed from the #GuptaLeaks, which revealed how the London-based firm assisted the Guptas to create a narrative meant to discredit the beleaguered family's many critics.

The narrative was based around many racially-charged themes, and the firm is credited with coining the phrase "white monopoly capital".

Staff came under fire for stoking racial tensions in a young democracy with a long, violent history of racial tension. Both lead partner Victoria Geoghegan and CEO James Henderson have resigned.

Van Damme told News24 on Tuesday that the party was not done with Bell Pottinger, and would be looking at what steps to take to get hold of the documents detailing its work for the Guptas.

The DA has also demanded that the firm donate the money earned for the work to a charity in South Africa.

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