Public Relations company Bell Pottinger says senior management was misled about work they did for the Gupta-owned firm Oakbay Investments and have apologised to those impacted.
The company hired to do publicity relations for the Gupta family, was recently implicated in leaked emails suggesting they had helped the MK Military Veterans Association and the African National Congress Youth League in their campaigns to discredit Gupta critics and those of President Jacob Zuma.
In a statement released on Thursday, the company admitted some of its work for Oakbay, including a social media campaign highlighting the issue of white monopoly capital was offensive.
It said: "When we terminated our work with Oakbay, we said we were doing so because of increasingly strong social media attacks on our staff and our business from South Africa, and that we regarded the criticisms of what our team had done as unfair."
The PR company says it has called in international law firm, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, to review the Oakbay account and the work carried out on it.
The lead partner on the account has been dismissed as well as another partner and two other employees have been suspended.
Political analyst Karima Brown says the admission can be read in several ways.
We saw last night quite a pathetic little statement from the company coming out...— Karima Brown, political analyst
A lot of people saying it is too little too late, that the race baiting at the centre of the narrative that the Gupta linked PR company was responsible for..... We have seen the devastating consequences of that race baiting in organisations such as Black First Land First movement that have been intimidating journalists and of course attacking Absa in town.— Karima Brown, political analyst
At the centre of the narrative i Bell Pottinger, this idea that everything in South Africa that is wrong is at the doorstep of this concept of white monopoly capital.— Karima Brown, political analyst
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This article first appeared on 702 : Bell Pottinger's apology is 'quite pathetic' - Brown