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Gupta-owned newspaper published opinion pieces by Bell Pottinger

Last week 'The New Age' executive Gary Naidoo broke the company’s silence and distanced the Guptas and their associates from Bell Pottinger.

Atul Gupta. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - In another series of emails to emerge from the Gupta leaks, it’s emerged that the Gupta-owned newspaper The New Age published opinion pieces written by Bell Pottinger.

News24 revealed on Monday morning that the newspaper accepted and published a comment piece drafted by the controversial public relations firm.

Last week, The New Age Executive Gary Naidoo broke the company’s silence and distanced the Guptas and their associates from Bell Pottinger.

The London-Based PR firm cut ties with the Guptas in April and has since apologised to South Africa for advancing a racially divisive campaign and has launched an investigation into the conduct of the account managers.

The leaked emails reveal that early last year, Bell Pottinger employee Philip Peck sent an article titled:
“South Africa Must Break Economic Apartheid” to Gupta associate Santosh Choubey.

Choubey, in turn, sent it to former Oakbay executive Nazeem Howa with a request that it be published in The New Age.

Howa replied that the piece needed to be published under someone’s name as an opinion piece.

The Bell Pottinger-written comment was published on 14 March last year under the name "John Britain", whom the publication described as a writer and social commentator.

It’s not clear how many other pieces written by Bell Pottinger were published on the site under fake names.

The newspaper’s managing editor and Gupta Spokesperson Gary Naidoo did not respond to questions.

(Edited by Zinhle Nkosi)