PR giant hired City law firm to investigate amid accusations of stirring up racial tensions in South Africa to benefit billionaire clients the Gupta family

Bell Pottinger, the public relations company founded by Margaret Thatcher’s spin doctor Lord Bell, will on Friday be hauled before the public relations and communications association (PRCA) disciplinary committee over allegations it ran a secret campaign to stir up racial tension in South Africa on behalf of billionaire clients.

Mmusi Maimane, leader of the South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance party, has demanded that the British PR industry body censures Bell Pottinger for running a “hateful and divisive campaign to divide South Africa along the lines of race”.

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