OPINION

Bell Pottinger: R20m plus must be returned to South Africa – Afrikanerbond

Organisation says money must be used to promote racial trust and to assist in building bridges between communities

Bell Pottinger: More than R20 million must be returned to South Africa to promote racial trust and to assist in building bridges between communities

5 September 2017

It is with disbelief that we took note of the underhanded work by the Bell Pottinger firm in London which contributed to unprecedented racial polarisation in South Africa. A strange group of individuals in South Africa, including the Gupta family, the Zuma family, and specifically Mr Duduzane Zuma and the fanatical leader, BLF leader Andile Mngxitama, used a racially driven agenda in South Africa to promote their own narrow and personal interests. This racial agenda was executed and promoted by the Bell Pottinger Firm from London in an effort to increase the racial divide between South Africans.

Although Bell Pottinger is now endeavouring to control the damage within the company, after certain action was taken against them, including the company’s suspension for five years from the  Public Relations and Communications Association in the UK, these are all efforts to protect the company’s own image. While the company struggles to restore its own image, enormous damage has been done in South Africa.

From the South African perspective where a race-driven agenda has determined the conversation of the past few years, the Bell Pottinger company poured oil on the fire. Questions must therefore be asked about the funds that the Guptas and the Zumas paid to the company to perform the unholy work in South Africa. It is estimated that the Oakbay (Gupta Company) payments to Bell Pottinger were in excess of R20 million. Oakbay allegedly paid at least  GB£100 000 monthly and at the current exchange rate this is more than R20 million. This excludes Mr Duduzane Zuma's payments.

Apart from its own internal damage control a further step for Bell Pottinger should be to repay the funds (more than R20 million) illegally paid from South Africa for the disgraceful  and devious work they undertook. These funds could at least start a process of building bridges among communities and of healing the racial divide between South Africans.

The ANC government's obsession with race has begun to divide South Africa. Bell Pottinger and its scheming customers exploited the situation. South Africans urgently need a period of mutual trust, respect for one another’s  views and, above all, a will to meet one another halfway in trying to find common ground for solutions to the problems and challenges of the time. We need a real will and perseverance to enable South Africa to function successfully for the benefit of all. Bell Pottinger's repayment of illegal gains in an effort to increase the racial divide could be the first step towards making South Africans believe in one another again.

The individuals who, along with Bell Pottinger, promoted their own unacceptable and irresponsible agenda, must still face justice. Meanwhile, the funds that promoted the agenda could be used to help South Africans heal these divisions.

Issued by Jan Bosman, Chief Secretary, Afrikanderbond, 5 September 2017