‘White monopoly capital’ a PR stunt to protect Zuma and the Guptas: report

New evidence has emerged that the term ‘white monopoly capital’ and the discourse around it was created and adopted by PR firms to help the Gupta family and president Jacob Zuma with their problematic images, The Sunday Times reports.

The paper said it has seen documents purportedly detailing the strategy, and has also interviewed ‘key players’ involved, who have made it clear that the plan was to take the heat off of the Guptas and president Zuma following ‘NeneGate’ in 2016.

The document, which is reportedly doing the rounds in government circles, also pointed to PR company Bell Pottinger as being behind the ‘Twitter bots’ that constantly attack finance minister Pravin Gordhan, National Treasury and those who stood against the Gupta family.

According to the report, the document said that Bell Pottinger sought to “divert public outcry towards the Gupta family and refocus attention upon other examples of state interference and capture, notably by ‘white monopoly capital…With a heavy focus upon use of social media, a series of fake bloggers, commentators and Twitter users have been launched in an effort to manipulate public opinion.”

When asked for comment, Bell Pottinger denied the allegations and its involvement, saying that it worked for Oakbay Investments, not the Gupta family, adding that it had nothing to do with the ‘Twitter bot” phenomenon.

Oakbay described the allegations as “fake news”.

However the Sunday Times cited further comment from the PR firm’s previous high-profile client – Johann Rupert and Richemont – who said that the company dropped its contract with Bell Pottinger as soon as it found out that Rupert would be the target of the ‘white monopoly capital’ campaign.

Rupert said that Bell Pottinger employees who were opposed to the strategy had informed Richemont employees of what was going on, leading to the action.

Rupert is on record as putting the blame for the ‘white monopoly capital fake news’ squarely at the feet of the PR firm.

You can read the full story in the Sunday Times for 19 March 2017


Read: How fake news is driving South Africa’s political agendas

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