Vodacom shuts stores allegedly trashed by EFF supporters

Vodacom is keeping some of its South African franchise stores shut after members of opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters allegedly vandalised outlets in protest of an image of their leaders at an event hosted by the wireless carrier.

The EFF has denied any involvement.

In one incident, at Vodacom's Mall of Africa franchise store in Johannesburg, women were assaulted and goods stolen, the company said in an email. The EFF may have been responding to an image used by Corruption Watch Chairman Mavuso Msimang, Vodacom said, in which he depicted an image of the party’s leaders Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu, as “abusers of democracy” during a keynote address at an awards ceremony.

“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 behavior,” the mobile-phone operator said in emailed comments on Monday. “Vodacom is against discrimination and bigotry in all their manifestations.”

Images on Twitter showed people dressed in the EFF’s signature red berets and clothing entering stores or the damage caused in the aftermath of their leaving. 

“There has been no official mandate, request or statement from the EFF to go to Vodacom shops and protest,” said Jossey Buthane, EFF Secretary in the Limpopo province. “This is being done independently by unhappy South Africans. We do understand that the Vodacom stores are owned by individual franchisees, and would therefore look for alternative recourse in this matter.”

* Sign up to Fin24's top news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO FIN24 NEWSLETTER

ZAR/USD
16.77
(+0.33)
ZAR/GBP
21.18
(+0.06)
ZAR/EUR
18.96
(+0.13)
ZAR/AUD
11.66
(+0.41)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(-0.08)
Gold
1799.11
(-0.25)
Silver
18.69
(+0.17)
Platinum
832.00
(-0.18)
Brent Crude
42.31
(-2.17)
Palladium
1972.00
(+0.92)
All Share
55417.89
(-0.66)
Top 40
51154.08
(-0.74)
Financial 15
10472.31
(+1.28)
Industrial 25
76134.69
(-1.67)
Resource 10
52483.78
(-0.20)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'm not really directly affected
18% - 1916 votes
I am taking a hit, but should be able to recover in the next year
23% - 2523 votes
My finances have been devastated
35% - 3755 votes
It's still too early to know what the full effect will be
25% - 2689 votes
Vote