Andrew Donaldson says Bell Pottinger and KPMG are finding you sup with the devil at your peril


LATE on Thursday, or maybe early yesterday morning, but definitely before the last rounds of Fernet Branca, the Mahogany Ridge regulars were struck by a sense that out there, in the desperate hurly burly, the mood was changing. We knew the mense were gatvol, but now it seems the gatvol is going into overdrive. 

The first signs came with the slithering apology from James Henderson, chief executive of Bell Pottinger, the UK public relations firm charged with whipping up enmity on behalf of the Gupta-owned Oakbay Capital. No-one bought it.

It was ugly in some respects. We do need to ask ourselves whether the “revolutionary” campaign cooked up by pasty swots in London was responsible for our recent racial squabbling, or if our bile and hatred, our inner hyena, was always there in the first place?

But the apology was encouraging in other respects. Henderson did admit the social media attacks on his staff were “clearly the result of strong and sincere anger”.

Consequently, they called in boffo lawyers to review their work with Oakbay. Although their report is only due in the next few weeks, they’ve dug up enough in the interim for Bell Pottinger to fire, among others, partner Victoria Geoghegan, architect of White Monopoly Capital™, for “inappropriate and offensive” activity.

Shem. But we are unmoved. Who honestly believes the firm’s executives were unaware of the cloven hooves when they plunged into this obscene suck-fest? Given the greed and gusto with which they went at Satan’s acid dugs, who would then be surprised at the reflux? 

Also, is there any mention in Henderson’s grovel about the fortune they were paid for their dark arts?

Thought so. Give us back our money. God knows, but from Hout Bay to Knysna, we can think of a bunch of people who could do with some help right now.

Meanwhile, that strong and sincere anger is growing. Our corrosive resentment is soon going to be felt by other rent seekers at the shebeen.

KPMG is now feeling the inquisition’s burn. The auditors, it has emerged from the leaked Gupta emails, failed to raise the alarm when some R30-million of taxpayers’ money was siphoned off to pay for the Gupta wedding at Sun City.

Their former chief executive, Moses Kgosana, not only attended that vulgar affair, but went on to thank his hosts, praising their beano as the event of the millennium. He will no longer be taking up a position next month as chair of Alexander Forbes.

KPMG has insisted that, unlike the banks, it had no idea, absolutely none whatsoever, that the wedding could ever have been considered a “money laundering” operation. This despite the barrage of bad publicity the event attracted, and the subsequent reports on the Guptas’ dodgy associations with President Jacob Zuma and his family. 

That all changed, however, once KPMG and Kgosana’s names turned up in the emails. KPMG have also tendered a groveling apology. They will accordingly be cooperating fully with the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors in their forthcoming investigations into the matter. 

Whatever the outcome, it doesn’t look good. You think saying sorry is difficult? Try us for forgiveness.

More names will emerge from the emails. The deluge of their damning contents is overwhelming. The full form of the criminal enterprise that is rising from this correspondence is of such a brazen magnitude that it is almost beyond our ken.

But it’s simple, really. The rotten heart of the matter is Zupta Inc. They are corruptheid incarnate. Any action therefore to aid and abet the Saxonwold-Nkandla nexus, any attempt to shield them from scrutiny, to distract and draw attention from the grubbing and looting with spin and lies, is party to that criminal enterprise.

So, when creepy Jackson Mthembu emerged from the dank confines of the ANC’s policy conference to remind journalists that plans for a media appeals tribunal were still very much in place, we fully understand why this ham-fisted attempt at censorship should once more be bandied about.

Jackson, who is the party’s chief whip and who heads up the ANC’s subcommittee on communications, claims that delegates at the conference wanted parliament to implement a proposal for the the tribunal as well as a regulatory body for newspapers.

The timing is shabby. A renewed threat against press freedom just as Suna Venter, the SABC journalist hounded to death for her stand against Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s reign of terror at Auckland Park, is laid to rest? 

It’s the last gasps of a dying horse. They’re surely aware that their time here is drawing to a close, that the people are coming for Zupta Inc? Let’s hope so.

This article first appeared in the Weekend Argus.