NEWS

MK Vets: Claims We Worked With Bell Pottinger Are 'Racist'

"We do not need to be told anything about our own experiences by a foreign PR company."

10/07/2017 13:05 SAST | Updated 10/07/2017 13:05 SAST
Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

The Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) has rubbished allegations that British PR company Bell Pottinger assisted it with media statements.

MKMVA president Kebby Maphatsoe denied in a statement the organisation met with the company to receive coaching on how to analyse or understand the South African political reality.

"We do not need to be told anything about our own experiences by a foreign PR company. Allegations of this nature are deeply insulting, they are patronising and downright racist," said Maphatsoe.

The organisation said this after allegations surfaced in an amaBhungane #GuptaLeaks report.

It said there was email correspondence that showed that groups such as the MKMVA and the ANC Youth League appeared to have had PR assistance from Bell Pottinger in their campaigns to discredit the Gupta family and President Jacob Zuma's critics.

Bell Pottinger's chief executive James Henderson last week apologised for the work the company did for the Gupta family and Oakbay Investments. The company allegedly stoked racial hatred in South Africa in the work they did for the Gupta family and Duduzane Zuma, one of Zuma's sons.

Maphatsoe said the allegations were a malicious attempt to undermine the MKMVA.

"We do not need any foreigners to tell us what to think and what to do! Our business relationships with companies associated with the Gupta family is known, and above board.

"We have always maintained that these are of a purely commercial nature and that we have nothing to hide."

He said the MKMVA was not an extension of the Gupta family.

"We are an independent organisation in our own right, with proud freedom fighters as our members who have dedicated their lives to the liberation of our beloved country...

"We are not for sale, nor to be 'captured' by anyone. Baseless allegations to that effect are downright racist, and an unforgivable insult to the huge struggle contribution that we have made."

Maphatsoe said: "We have noted with utter dismay the false propaganda narrative that Bell Pottinger developed, the socio-political concepts of white monopoly capital and radical socioeconomic transformation. This is a blatant lie."

He said the South African economy was dominated by white monopoly capital, which allegedly exploited black people.

Maphatsoe said the definition of 'white monopoly capital' had been used for decades in the ANC and the SACP.

"It is shameful that some comrades such as Joel Netshitenze, Paul Mashatile, David Makhura, Blade Nzimande and Trevor Manuel, to name a few, abuse this false narrative for their own factional purposes.

"Their behaviour is disingenuous and expedient in the extreme. They should be ashamed of themselves and deserve to be [censured] in the strongest possible manner."

Maphatsoe said South Africa did not need foreign interference.

"We do not need PR mercenaries who serve whoever the highest paymaster is (at one point they even worked for an arch-reactionary like Margaret Thatcher!), and who evidently have no ideological or moral compass."

The organisation advised Bell Pottinger to remain in London, where it said it belonged.

News24