'Bell Pottinger trying to portray itself as taking responsibility for actions'

The probe found that some of the content used in an economic emancipation campaign may have been racially divisive and offensive.

FILE: DA'S Phumzile van Damme. Picture: Bertram Malgas/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) says the release of the findings of a probe into Bell Pottinger's conduct is nothing more than the agency trying to portray itself as taking responsibility for its actions.

The probe conducted by Herbert Smith Freehills has found that some of the content used in an economic emancipation campaign may have been racially divisive and offensive.

The extent of the work done for the Gupta-owned Oakbay was revealed in a trove of leaked emails.

The DA's Phumzile van Damme said: “The DA will be requesting that Bell Pottinger make available to us the 45,000 documents that were subject to the FHS review so we can appraise ourselves on behalf of South Africa of the true extent of the contract.”

Findings of Herbert Smith Freehills Review by Primedia Broadcasting on Scribd

It echoes the statement of former Bell Pottinger CEO James Henderson, who resigned over the weekend, saying senior management was mislead by the team managing the Oakbay account.

Herbert Smith Freehills says the team managing the Oakbay account initially focused on corporate communication.

The probe has found account managers started spending more time on the economic emancipation campaign in September last year.

The law firm says taking on such a campaign is not a breach of ethics in itself, but adds management should've exercised extreme care, which they failed to do.

The findings reveal the campaign was potentially racially divisive and offensive, and the content was in breach of relevant ethical principles.