DA will not pursue Bell Pottinger – Phumzile van Damme

Party says their quest against the company has never been one of blind vengeance

DA will not pursue Bell Pottinger with CPIR, but we will still want full disclosure

21 September 2017

The DA has decided to no longer pursue the complaint we had laid with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), against Kevin Read, a Bell Pottinger partner who worked on the campaign that exploited the racial tensions in South Africa on behalf of the Gupta family and Duduzane Zuma, President Jacob Zuma's son.

Read's involvement in the campaign was exposed in the "Gupta Emails" where he responded to a speech by the leader of the ANCYL, Collen Maine threatening civil war with: "this is a good message for us".

The CIPR informed the DA that Mr Read did not respond to our complaint and failed to disclose any relevant information. Therefore, we did not deem it necessary to continue with the complaint as he clearly would not form part of it nor disclose the brief he received from the Gupta family and Duduzane Zuma. It would have been a barren harvest.

The DA thanks the CIPR for the professional manner in which our complaint was handled and for making every effort to contact Mr Read. It is a pity that he did not take up the opportunity to tell his side of the story.

The DA’s quest against Bell Pottinger has never been one of blind vengeance but about getting full disclosure, ensuring that the firm is held accountable and that the money is paid back to South Africa.

We still intend to pursue full disclosure and have noted the media reports that Read and former Bell Pottinger partner, Victoria Geoghegan, intend on suing the PR firm. We trust that they will both use that opportunity to tell their side of the story and provide the full disclosure that the people of South Africa need.

Issued by Phumzile Van Damme, DA Shadow Minister of Communications , 20 September 2017