Phumzile Van Damme

Johannesburg - The DA said it was confident it had presented a solid case against PR firm Bell Pottinger as a hearing into the firm's conduct concluded on Friday.

The hearing, which took place in London, came after the party laid a complaint with the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) over the PR firm's violation of the association's Professional Charter and Code of Conduct.

The UK-based firm came under fire when their working relationship with Oakbay was exposed, prompting them to cut ties with the company. 

Bell Pottinger has since issued an apology over the saga. 

The DA's Phumzile van Damme in a statement said the DA presented evidence with showed how the PR firm "sought to exploit, the already fragmented, race relations in our country".

"This, to benefit the Guptas and the Zumas, in their quest to completely loot and plunder our public coffers," van Damme said.

"The DA is of the view that Bell Pottinger’s pro-Gupta propaganda campaign contravened the PRCA’s Codes of Conduct."

Van Damme confirmed that the committee, following the conclusion of the hearing, would meet for deliberations and announce the outcome of the hearing within 14 days. 

The committee chairman would then draft a recommendation which will be referred to the PRCA board who will “approve, amend, or overrule the decision” and if the recommendation “is one of suspension or termination [...] the Board who shall consider the report and recommendations [...] and shall give its judgement in writing”, van Damme explained. 

"The DA trusts that both the committee and the board will make the right decision that will begin to repair the damage Bell Pottinger caused in South Africa to the benefit of President Zuma and the Gupta family.

"The DA reiterates its call that Bell Pottinger must declare all funds from their Gupta accounts and reinvest these profits to benefit South Africa people such as a worthy charity."