Vodacom and EFF call a truce
The parties ‘consider the matter to be closed’ after stores were shut on Monday due to protesting EFF members having allegedly vandalised outlets
Vodacom and the EFF say they have resolved their differences after members of the political party allegedly vandalised some of the network operator’s franchise stores.
Their respective leadership teams met on Monday to discuss comments and images presented at a recent Vodacom event by Corruption Watch chair Mavuso Msimang, as well as the “unrest” that followed.
Msimang had depicted the party’s leaders, Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu, as “abusers of democracy” during a keynote address at the Vodacom Journalist of the Year awards ceremony, Bloomberg reported on Monday.
Vodacom then had to shut stores after EFF members allegedly vandalised outlets in protest.
In one incident, at its Mall of Africa franchise store in Johannesburg, women were assaulted and goods stolen, Bloomberg said.
Images on Twitter showed people dressed in the EFF’s signature red berets and clothing entering stores and the damage caused in the aftermath of their leaving.
In their joint statement on Tuesday, Vodacom and the EFF said they had “discussed the matter in detail and have resolved the issue”.
Vodacom said it had acknowledged it was politically neutral. However, the parties “appreciate that the matter could have been handled differently to avoid the misunderstanding that occurred”.
“Vodacom and EFF encourage the right of freedom of speech and the free circulation of ideas. The parties also committed to engage on policy issues of mutual interest and consider the matter to be closed,” they said.