With attacks against the influential Gupta family coming from diverse angle, the Gupta family has taken a step towards redeeming the family name and possibly attacking back. Report has it that the family has hired a respected UK-based public relations firm to redeem its tarnished image in South Africa.
The lobbying and public relations firm, Bell Pottinger, whose executives once claimed they were capable of drowning out negative coverage and influencing public opinion through unorthodox means, has confirmed having the Guptas’ Oakbay Investments as a client. Business Day said
The company is founded by Lord Tim Bell, who ran successful publicity campaigns for the Conservative Party for the British general elections in 1979, 1983 and 1987. It is also the largest UK-based public relations consultancy measured by 2010 fee income.
The Gupta family has in the recent months faced severe criticisms from South Africans who believed the family is using its political and economic influence to oppress the country. This issue rose as its close relationship with president Zuma is revealed.
The Family has also been accused of taking advantage of its affluence to colonize the country through their involvement in the economic, social and political decisions of the country. This has heightened by the #Zuptamustfall and “Gupta Must Leave SA” campaigns launched by political parties.
A number of high-profile ministers from within the ANC, including deputy finance minister, Mcebisi Jonas, have come forward this week, claiming political meddling by the Gupta family.
“The revelation by the deputy minister confirms what many South Africans have suspected; that the Gupta family has undue influence on President Jacob Zuma as well as affairs of the State that they should not be involved in.” DA Spokesperson Mabine Seabe, said.
The Gupta family have denied any allegations against them and, the hired firm said it is their job to restore their client’s reputations.
“We provide clients with unparalleled political intelligence and the support they need to engage stakeholders, manage their reputations, and design and run impactful campaigns to achieve their objectives,” Bell Pottinger said on its website.
Political parties have however prepared to lay charges of treason and corruption against President Jacob Zuma and members of the Gupta family. DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the party would also lay charges against the Gupta family in terms of Section Four of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.