Public pressure group We are South Africans has been granted permission by the London Metropolitan Police Service to protest on Saturday outside the offices of public relations firm Bell Pottinger, which used to represent the controversial Gupta family.
The group on Thursday said it wanted Bell Pottinger – which has been accused of intentionally sowing the seeds of racial division in South Africa in order to deflect attention from allegations of “state capture” by the Guptas and President Jacob Zuma – to pay reparations to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund for damage it allegedly caused to the country’s economy and its people.
Justin Eden, the organiser for the We are South Africans protest, said in a statement the UK PR company had “caused immense racial division in our country that ordinary people had to mend”.
“Based on the ‘State of Capture’ report by previous public protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela it is clear that monies paid to Bell Pottinger could have been obtained through irregular tenders‚ known or unknown‚ alleged or not.
“We therefore calmly urge Bell Pottinger to donate the money they have received from Oakbay Investments and affiliated companies to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund as reparation for the damages they have caused the South African people as well as the South African economy‚” the statement said.
Bell Pottinger confirmed on Wednesday that it dropped the Guptas’ holding company Oakbay as a client after saying it had fallen victim to a politically driven smear campaign in South Africa over the last few months.
The company has denied it ran an underhanded “deflection campaign” for the Guptas.
“It has been alleged that whilst we were contracted to Oakbay we were primarily working for the Gupta family with the full approval and involvement of President Zuma. This is completely not the case,” it said in a statement.