Bell Pottinger's South African critic-in-chief arrives in London for PRCA hearing

Phumzile van Damme, the national spokeswoman for South Africa's second-biggest political party, has arrived in London where she will appear at the PRCA hearing into the conduct of the agency Bell Pottinger.

Bell Pottinger's South African critic-in-chief arrives in London for PRCA hearing

The Democratic Alliance (DA) politician has been outspoken in her criticism of 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.

Bell Pottinger last month dismissed partner Victoria Geoghegan and suspended three further staff over "inappropriate and offensive" work conducted for Oakbay.

A DA complaint to the PRCA dated 30 June argued Bell Pottinger had 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.

The industry body's Professional Practices Committee tomorrow holds a hearing into that complaint.

Depending on the committee's decision, the outcome may be made public as early as the end of next week. The latest it is expected is at the end of the first full week of September.

The DA will be represented by van Damme, who will be accompanied by two lawyers.

It is not known who will represent Bell Pottinger in the hearing, which will be held behind closed doors.

Reprimands available to the PRCA include expulsion, although this is a punishment which has only been handed out once since 2007; to Fuel PR in 2015.

PRWeek understands that an independent report by law firm Herbert Smith Freehills, that Bell Pottinger itself commissioned on the work it did for Oakbay, is likely to be published later this month.

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