Vodacom, the mobile operator lurching from one public-relations crisis to another, saw its shares dip to a five-year low on Monday. The stock closed 3.13% lower at R116.16 on the day — the worst level since February 2014. The sell-off was triggered by a disappointing trading update on January 24, though the company’s woes have been compounded by reputational damage. In December, Vodacom was targeted by EFF protesters after the party’s leaders were depicted by Corruption Watch chair Mavuso Msimang as “abusers of democracy” during the Vodacom Journalist of the Year awards ceremony. EFF members then vandalised Vodacom stores before the network operator and the party called a truce — much to the horror of some EFF opponents. Less than two months later, Vodacom is taking another hit to its reputation. This time, members of the ruling party in Gauteng are upset at the amount Vodacom wants to pay the man behind the Please Call Me service. The operator reportedly settled on an amount of R49...

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