Some Vodacom stores to remain closed until further notice after attacks

2018-12-03 13:30
Mavuso Msimang speaks during the memorial service of the late struggle stalwart Zola Skweyiya. (Frennie Shivambu, Gallo Images, file)

Mavuso Msimang speaks during the memorial service of the late struggle stalwart Zola Skweyiya. (Frennie Shivambu, Gallo Images, file)

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Cellular network provider Vodacom has decided to keep some of its stores closed until further notice.

This follows this weekend's attack on its franchises in Polokwane and Makhado in Limpopo. 

"The safety and security of customers and franchise staff remains paramount," a spokesperson for Vodacom told News24 on Monday. 

He did not elaborate on which stores would be affected.

Self-declared members and supporters of the EFF, many in the party's T-shirts, attacked at least two Vodacom stores on Sunday. 

This follows a lecture by ANC stalwart and Corruption Watch chairperson Mavuso Msimang at the Vodacom Journalism Awards which included an image depicting EFF leaders Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu as "abusers of freedom".

3 assaulted, goods stolen

"Vodacom respects the right of every South African to freedom of expression and to hold legal and peaceful protests, but condemns any form of violent behaviour, including wanton destruction of property associated with such actions," the company's spokesperson said. 

READ: Vodacom attack: DA goes after EFF hooligans who vandalised stores, EFF unfazed by DA threat

Msimang was invited to give the keynote address at the awards ceremony on Thursday to speak on the importance of media freedom and why it should be preserved, News24 earlier reported.

Three women were assaulted and goods were stolen at the Polokwane franchise at the Mall of the North.

"We understand that the business owner is cooperating with authorities," the Vodacom spokesperson explained.

On Saturday, Vodacom stores in Centurion, Hatfield and East Lynne were closed as people clad in EFF T-shirts demonstrated against the mobile network operator.

The cellular network provider told News24 that while Msimang's views are his own and not those held by Vodacom, it believes in media freedom and its preservation.

DA lays charges against EFF supporters

"Vodacom believes in freedom of expression and would not censor Mr Msimang's views or those of other opinion makers.

"Vodacom is against discrimination and bigotry in all their manifestations, including race, age, gender, disability, religion, sexual orientation and political thought," the company's spokesperson added.

The DA laid charges of accessory to crime and malicious damage to property on Monday against what it termed the "EFF hooligans" who vandalised the franchise.

"There is enough sufficient evidence that could have been linked to certain people, we will continue communicating with the South African Police Service to ensure that people are charged and held accountable for their actions," DA Limpopo leader Jacques Smalle told the media outside Polokwane police station. 

EFF provincial chairperson Jossey Buthane on Sunday told News24 that Smalle was only laying charges because he wanted to become the province's premier. 

"We let sleeping dogs lie. When people are angered by Vodacom, Smalle must not blame the EFF. Not everyone who wears an EFF, ANC, DA, Cope T-shirt is a member of that party. The DA is protecting white monopoly capital," said Buthane.

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Read more on:    vodacom  |  polokwane  |  crime

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