Bell Pottinger to release full report on Oakbay dealings

The company has sacked one employee and suspended three others, admitting the campaign was offensive.

FILE: Ajay Gupta. Picture: Screengrab/Youtube

CAPE TOWN – UK-based PR agency, Bell Pottinger, is to release a full report into its dealings with the Gupta-owned company Oakbay Capital.

Bell Pottinger has been accused of stirring racial tension in South Africa after leaked Gupta emails suggested the agency helped the MK Military Veterans Association and the African National Congress (ANC) Youth League discredit critics of the Gupta family and President Jacob Zuma.

The firm has issued an apology.

The company has sacked one employee and suspended three others, admitting the campaign was offensive.

It maintains that most allegations against it are untrue, but admits that preliminary evidence is of deep concern.

Bell Pottinger appointed law firm Herbert Smith Freehills to probe the agency's work for Oakbay Capital.

Based on the interim evidence, the PR agency decided to fire four employees, including the lead partner on the account.

The firm says that while the investigation is ongoing, that will give it the opportunity to determine the sacked staff members' precise role in the matter.

It has vowed to release the full report in the next few of weeks.

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.