DA spokesperson Phumzile van Damme felt a weight on her shoulders as she testified against Bell Pottinger at the disciplinary hearing. Picture: David Ritchie/Independent Media

Durban - DA National spokesperson Phumzile van Damme felt a weight on her shoulders as she testified against Bell Pottinger in the Public Relations and Communications Association's (PRCA) disciplinary hearing into the firm's conduct in London on Friday.

“I felt I was carrying the hope of the entire country,” she told The Independent on Saturday after the closed session, which her party brought against Bell Pottinger.

“I wanted to do it well and now I feel good,” she said in a telephonic interview after the day's proceedings.

Van Damme would not comment further, insisting it was a closed session.

She said, in a statement, the DA had presented a solid case against Bell Pottinger “on how it 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”.

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

Bell Pottinger offered an e-mail address to request comment but failed to deliver anything by the time of press.

The committee that heard both sides will now meet for deliberations and the outcome of the hearing is expected to be announced within two weeks.

The PRCA said there were three broad scenarios that could come about.

Firstly, in the event of the complaints not being upheld, the PRCA’s professional practices committee's decision would be provided to Bell Pottinger and the PRCA would publish the decision by Thursday.

Secondly, in the event of complaints being upheld, with disciplinary sanction such as a warning or reprimand, Bell Pottinger would have 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,” read a statement.

“The PRCA will then publish the decision in the week beginning on September 4."

Finally, if the complaints 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 in the week beginning September 4.”