National spokeswoman for South Africa’s second-biggest political party, and staunch critic of Bell Pottinger, Phumzile van Damme is in London for the PRCA hearing into the conduct of the agency’s activities in that country.
The hearing into the complaint is due tomorrow.
Ms van Damme has publicly criticised the agency over its work for Oakbay Investments, a conglomerate owned by the Gupta family, close allies of South African president and DA rival Jacob Zuma. In June, the party complained to the PRCA noting that Bell Pottinger had breached the PR industry’s Code of Conduct.
PRCA statement in advance of Democratic Alliance and Bell Pottinger hearing
Meanwhile, PRCA has issued a statement. Read full text below:
The PRCA has given the following statement in advance of the Professional Practices Committee hearing being held tomorrow into the complaint filed by Democratic Alliance against Bell Pottinger.
Francis Ingham MPRCA, Director General, PRCA, said: “The PRCA has a robust and objective process for investigating any complaint made against a member. This process is set out in our Professional Charter and Codes of Conduct. The Professional Practices Committee hearing on 18th August, 2017 is part of this process.
“The Committee has received written evidence from the Democratic Alliance and Bell Pottinger, and both organisations will have the opportunity to give oral evidence at the hearing. The PRCA will make a decision based on the evidence presented at the hearing, and on the recommendation of the Professional Practices Committee. The outcome of the investigation will be announced on or before the week commencing 4th September.”
There are three broad scenarios:
1. If the complaint(s) are not upheld, the Professional Practices Committee’s decision will be provided to Bell Pottinger and the PRCA will publish the decision by 24th August.
2. If the complaint(s) are upheld with disciplinary sanction, e.g. warning or reprimand, Bell Pottinger is given five working days to appeal the decision. If an appeal is made, the PRCA Board of Management will consider the report of the Professional Practices Committee alongside the appeal and will approve, amend or overrule the decision of the committee. The PRCA will then publish the decision on week beginning 4th September.
3. If the complaint(s) are upheld with sanction of Termination or Suspension of PRCA membership, the PRCA Board of Management will meet to consider the report. The Board may approve, amend, or overrule the decision of the Professional Practices Committee. Bell Pottinger will then be given five working days to appeal the decision. Following the appeals period, the PRCA Board of Management may meet again if an appeal has been made and they may approve, amend, or overrule the decision of the Professional Practices Committee. The PRCA will then publish the decision on week beginning 4thSeptember.