DA not done yet with Bell Pottinger

2017-09-05 19:07
Phumzile van Damme led the DA’s charge against Bell Pottinger. (Jan Gerber, News24)

Phumzile van Damme led the DA’s charge against Bell Pottinger. (Jan Gerber, News24)

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Cape Town – The expulsion of the Guptas’ former spin doctors Bell Pottinger from the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) is “one battle that was won in a greater war,” said DA spokesperson Phumzile van Damme.

Van Damme led the DA’s charge against Bell Pottinger, and sitting in her office early on Tuesday morning after the PRCA rejected Bell Pottinger’s appeal the day before, she says the DA is not done yet.

“It is a bit of a bittersweet victory as we want full disclosure of those documents, and we haven't gotten it yet. So it’s not quite over for us yet.”

She said the DA will be looking at what steps to take to get hold of the documents detailing Bell Pottinger’s work for the Guptas.

ALSO READ: Bell Pottinger founder speaks out as firm expelled from UK body

“It is outrageous that Bell Pottinger has been held accountable, but the people who hired them haven’t.”

“Local authorities must be so embarrassed. I hope they are, if they have any shame left. They should be really embarrassed that it’s taken a UK body to bring South Africa some accountability.”

She singled out national director of public prosecutions Advocate Shaun Abrahams, who thus far hasn’t moved a finger on the slew of charges laid in the wake of the #GuptaLeaks.

“SA has been begging for accountability in Guptagate, and it’s not happening.”

Van Damme agrees that a UK body finding against Bell Pottinger, partly based on the #GuptaLeaks revelations, gives credibility to state capture in the face of a counter-narrative making it off as a defence mechanism of white monopoly capital.

“So I think the media must also be congratulated for the work they did in driving the issue and pursuing it relentlessly.”

"It was great to see South Africans united across races to say, ‘not under our watch, we will not tolerate this behaviour. Was amazing to see, it was brilliant to see that."

Van Damme said it was on behalf of South Africans that they went to England and put in the hours to present a strong case.

The DA laid a charge against Bell Pottinger for contravening the PRCA’s professional charter by stoking racial hatred in South Africa. Last month, the complaint has been upheld by Bell Pottinger. On Monday their appeal was dismissed and they were expelled from the PRCA.

The DA’s complaint stems from the #GuptaLeaks, which revealed how the London-based PR firm assisted the Guptas - after meeting with Duduzane Zuma - to create a narrative meant to discredit the Guptas' many critics.

They allegedly also helped some ANC office bearers, like Collen Maine, leader of the ANC Youth League, with their speeches.

The firm cut its ties with the Guptas in April. After the leaks revealed the ambit of their work, it fired some executives involved with the Guptas' account and issued an apology to South Africans, which was received mostly with derision.

Read more on:    da  |  bell pottinger  |  phumzile van damme

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