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EDINBURGH — It is ironic that a white monopoly capital firm – the London-headquartered Bell Pottinger – was hired by a Gupta entity to orchestrate a campaign to create the monster of white monopoly capital in South Africa. There have been suspicions and allegations that Bell Pottinger put together a devious strategy to defend the Gupta family and President Jacob Zuma by painting them as victims of greedy white racists. Teams of journalists sifting through a massive bank of leaked emails linked to the involvement of the Gupta family in South African government and business have now uncovered evidence that Bell Pottinger also had a hand in propaganda put out by the ANC’s MK and Youth League divisions. Helping to conduct the campaign was Nazeem Howa, a former journalist who moved on to work for the Gupta-owned Oakbay Investments. – Jackie Cameron
The monster of ‘white monopoly capital’ is an invention from London-listed PR firm Bell Pottinger, it has been confirmed.
Evidence has been unearthed in the #GuptaLeaks databank that Bell Pottinger, a ‘white monopoly capital’ firm, has planted this anti-white messaging in the public domain.
The strategy to highlight the beast of white monopoly capital in the media and at political rallies is designed to build animosity towards critics of President Jacob Zuma and his clique and shift blame for the country’s economic woes away from those in political control.
Bell Pottinger has worked with President Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane Zuma as well as the ANC Youth League’s Collen Maine to help build the myth of ‘white monopoly capital’ among the voting masses. The MK Military Veterans Association has also received “assistance” from Bell Pottinger in its communications, the journalists at amaBhungane have revealed.
Playing a central role in helping to build the ‘white monopoly capital’ narrative has been Nazeem Howa, a former newspaper editor who was recruited by the Gupta family to head its entity Oakbay Investments. Howa resigned last year on grounds of ill-health.
The victims of the ‘white monopoly capital’ campaign include South African billionaire businessman Johann Rupert, who was visibly distressed at being tagged with the ‘white monopoly capital’ moniker. Bell Pottinger, the very firm he once hired to do his PR, was stabbing him in the back on behalf of one of its other clients.
MK, ANC Youth League in cahoots with Bell Pottinger in ‘racist backlash’ campaign
The ‘white monopoly capital’ debate has been concocted to “salvage the reputations of the Gupta and Zuma families by portraying them as victims of a racist backlash’, says amaBhungane in its files on #GuptaLeaks.
“Email correspondence shows that groups such as the MK Military Veterans Association and ANC Youth League, which have embraced the idea of a racist conspiracy against the Guptas, appear to have received PR assistance from Bell Pottinger in their campaigns to discredit the family’s critics and those of Jacob Zuma.
“The two staunchly pro-Zuma organisations have been among the most vociferous in pushing the ‘white monopoly capital’ narrative,” notes amaBhungane.
Among the evidence amaBhungane has discovered in the treasure trove of #GuptaLeaks:
- Bell Pottinger financial and corporate head Victoria Geoghegan supplied talking points for the ANCYL leader Collen Maine ahead of the League’s national rally on 7 February 2016.
- Shortly after the rally, Howa forwarded a video of Maine’s speech to the Bell Pottinger team, who appeared pleased with the Youth League leader’s remarks. One Bell Pottinger employee replied: “some very interesting remarks by the Youth Leader, and some good messages for us.”
- Highlighting the ever-present role of the London-based pubic relations firm, another Bell Pottinger associate reportedly wrote: “Am about 10 minutes in and see he has used one one of our statistics…and defended the family…which is good”
- In February 2016 Geoghegan circulated a draft MKMVA press statement “with additions and edits from Bell Pottinger staff”. The statement defended Gupta-owned Tegeta’s takeover of Glencore’s Optimum coal mine, which was later flagged in the Public Protector’s State of Capture Report.
- The next day MKMVA leader Kebby Maphatsoe “gave a strident defence of Tegeta and the Guptas, echoing the statement and claiming that the family were being smeared by the media and opposition parties”.
- Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane Zuma played a central role in recruiting the firm for £100/month. In an enthusiastic reply to Geoghegen, Duduzane requests assistance “whether it be in the designing and creating a hard hitting message along the lines of the #EconomicEmancipation or whatever it is.”
In April of this year, in the face of growing public criticism, Bell Pottinger announced it was terminating its work with the Guptas, notes amaBhungane. Nevertheless, the ‘white monopoly capital’ narrative remains ever-present.
About #GuptaLeaks: Journalists are slowly sifting through the information to build evidence that President Jacob Zuma and friends have embarked on a calculating, wide-ranging and self-serving strategy to unsettle the South African political landscape in order to create access to funds. A daily digest and commentaries on the most important #GuptaLeaks finds are available here on BizNews.