Bell Pottinger has been summoned to appear at a hearing at the PRCA next month following a complaint by the Democratic Alliance political party about its work with South African client Oakbay Investments.
The DA welcomes the PRCA’s decision to institute a disciplinary hearing into the conduct of the Guptas’ PR firm.
Both the DA and Bell Pottinger are now required to submit summaries of our cases and copies of all documents, to be considered as evidence, within 10 working days.
The hearing is set to commence on Friday, 18th August 2017, in London.
Bell Pottinger designed and carried out a hateful and divisive propaganda campaign for the Guptas and the Zumas in our country, which is still dealing with a very painful past.
The hearing is likely to be held behind closed doors, with the PRCA’s procedures specifying that it will be held in private “unless otherwise agreed by all parties” – including the committee members.
The PRCA has set aside the morning for oral contributions from both parties, after which the committee, chaired by Adrian Wheeler, will deliberate.
Francis Ingham, director general of the PRCA, said: “Both the Democratic Alliance and Bell Pottinger are now required to provide full evidence to the Committee ahead of this hearing. We want to thank both sides again for their cooperation so far.”
The DA’s complaint, detailed in a letter dated 30 June, alleges that Bell Pottinger breached the trade body’s Code of Conduct’s provisions on carrying out work “without causing offence” as well as those on the protection of the reputation of the industry and the PRCA itself.
Since then, the agency has sacked a partner and admitted that it had promoted an “inappropriate and offensive” narrative for the former client, been criticised by its founder and been the subject of protests by South Africans outside its office.
Bell Pottinger has commissioned a law firm to complete an independent audit of its work on the account. It expects this to be completed “in the coming weeks”, CEO James Henderson said last week.
The DA welcomes that this hearing will go ahead as we must stand up to those who seek to divide us.
The South African public stood up against Bell Pottinger in South Africa and in London and we will continue to do so. We will also continue to push Bell Pottinger for full disclosure of their Gupta account and that the money from this account be paid back to South Africa