Vodacom, EFF resolve issues

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EFF members allegedly vandalised some Vodacom stores over the weekend.
EFF members allegedly vandalised some Vodacom stores over the weekend.

Vodacom and the leadership of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have met and resolved their issues after EFF members allegedly vandalised some Vodacom stores over the weekend in protest of an image shown at an event hosted by the mobile network.

"Vodacom and EFF leadership met yesterday to discuss comments and slides presented at a recent Vodacom event by Corruption Watch chairperson, Mavuso Msimang, and the subsequent unrest," the groups said in a joint statement.

Msimang gave the keynote address at the Vodacom Journalist of the Year awards last week and reportedly showed an image of EFF leaders Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu, as "abusers of democracy".

According to various news reports and reports on social media a group claiming to be EFF supporters vandalised a Vodacom shop in the Mall of the North in Polokwane and a store in Makhado in Limpopo.

"In the meeting, the parties discussed the matter in detail and have resolved the issue. Vodacom acknowledged that it is politically neutral and it doesn't influence party political positions in any way. Vodacom and EFF appreciate that the matter could have been handled differently to avoid the misunderstanding that occurred," the groups said.

"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."

Yesterday, Msimang wrote in an option piece on the Daily Maverick Web site that "Vodacom officials had absolutely no prior knowledge of the subject matter of my talk".

"That these agents of chaos chose to select only one slide out some 20-odd ones, four of which listed individuals and organisations in the same category of democracy abusers like the EFF, serves to confirm the point I was making in the presentation: the EFF is increasingly showing a flagrant disrespect for the freedom of expression, a central tenet of democracy," Msimang said.

Vodacom previously tweeted that Msimang was invited to give the keynote address at the awards "to speak on the importance of media freedom and why it should be preserved. Mr Msimang's views are his own and are not those held by Vodacom".

It also tweeted: "We believe 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."

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