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Vodacom vandalism: The return of WMC

05 December 2018, 15:51

So, recently the EFF trashed multiple Vodacom stores in Limpopo. Following the acts of vandalism committed against Vodacom, EFF spokesperson Ndlozi tried to justify it as an attack on white monopoly capital. In this article, I will briefly note why this line of defence is completely null and void.

The first point to bear in mind is the most straightforward one. Vandalism is a crime, regardless of who the victims of vandalism is. If the perpetrators are acquitted because the attack was against white monopoly capital, it would create a dangerous precedent. It would show that some criminal acts are permissible based on the race of the victim. This is dangerous, and exactly the type of racialized justice system that the Apartheid government embodied, and the EFF would oppose.

Furthermore, the victims of these attacks are unclear. In a video of the attack, it is shown how black employees of the Vodacom store are hiding tearfully in a small room from the attackers. These employees suffered real, actualized trauma based on the attackers’ notion that somewhere, some white CEO would shudder in fear in his air-conditioned office. Furthermore, black persons who would have liked to make a purchase at the store or use the store for the services it offered on that day will now be unable to, again based on the attackers’ lofty assaults on some ethereal boogeyman.

White monopoly capital is a boogeyman that has frankly become a ridiculous notion in 2018, only forwarded by parties that still have a racial and class axe to grind. It has been found in court that the concept of white monopoly capital had been reinvented by PR firm Bell Pottinger to distract the public from former president Jacob Zuma’s corruption. By trying to maintain the validity of white monopoly capital, the EFF continues to distract us from keeping the executive accountable.

The fact is that, whatever capital Vodacom might embody, it certainly isn’t as white as the EFF would have us believe. The CEO of Vodacom is Shameel Joosub. 5 of the 12 members of Vodacom’s Executive Committee are black. Vodacom has a level 3 BEE status, which is more than the required level 4 of compliance. It is also the highest BEE rating of any mobile service provider in South Africa.

The exact demographics of Vodacom’s executive and labour force shouldn’t matter, however. It merely serves to indicate that it is simplistic at best to feather and tar Vodacom with an outdated label. The fact that this is done to justify damaging a company that employs more than 6 000 people and provides fundamental services to millions more is frankly unforgivable. The vandals should be held accountable regardless of the victim of the crime and the justifications they had for vandalizing the store.

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