NEWS

Guptas Tell The BBC They Had Nothing To Do With Bell Pottinger's White Monopoly Capital Campaign

It was "nothing to do with us."

20/07/2017 16:23 SAST | Updated 21/07/2017 11:30 SAST
Twitter/Guptas

Gupta's spokesperson Gary Naidoo has reportedly told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) News on Thursday that the family had nothing to do with Bell Pottinger's divisive white capital monopoly campaign in South Africa.

Read: How Bell Pottinger's Gupta Campaign Damaged South Africa

In a series of tweets by the BBC's Andrew Harding and a news documentary which was aired on Thursday night on Newsnight, the Guptas deny any involvement in a campaign to use the white capital monopoly theme to divert attention from state capture involving the family and President Jacob Zuma.

They even denied being associated with the notorious PR company.

They denied the use of fake twitter bots to manipulate the news agenda.

Read: Paid Twitter, Bots, Hubs And Astroturfing: The Anatomy Of The New Propaganda War

The BBC documentary titled "South African Gupta Scandal" discusses how South Africa is influenced by a shadow state which is run by the Guptas, and examines Bell Pottinger's strategy of allegedly using fake social media accounts to influence the public discourse.

It looks how figures such as former finance minister Pravin Gordhan, DA leader Mmusi Maimane and Huff PostSA's editor at large Ferial Haffajee have been targeted in malicious campaigns aimed at discrediting them.

Read: Ferial Haffajee: The Gupta Fake News Factory And Me

In the interview, former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jones openly talks about how he was offered R600,000 which would increase to R600 million if he took the finance minister job and colluded with the Guptas. "You will have to work with them, basically is what they are saying", said Mcebisi.

"When actions such as Bell Pottinger happen, it is likely to start a wildfire in South Africa", said by opposition leader Mmusi Maimane in the documentary.

Huff Post SA's Ferial Haffajee said: "It was part of a black ops propaganda campaign to get the media off the corrupt network's back. All journalists who were writing against state capture witnessed quite insulting images as part of the constructed campaign."

One source close to Bell Pottinger told the BBC in the documentary: "Management knew the depth of feeling in the office and defended their decision."

Bell Pottinger has said it was sorry for work it did with the Gupta family and Oakbay.

"At various points throughout the tenure of the Oakbay account, senior management have been misled about what has been done. For it to be done in South Africa, a country which has become an international beacon of hope for its progress towards racial reconciliation, is a matter of profound regret and in no way reflects the values of Bell Pottinger," the public relations said.

The firm claimed it was "misled" and acted to rectify that as soon as it realised.