Julius Malema and other EFF leaders recently met with Vodacom’s top management, including Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub.
The EFF said in a Twitter post that its “leadership met with Black Business Council, MTN Management, and Vodacom Management”.
These meetings took place shortly after EFF members vandalized Vodacom outlets in protest of an image of their leaders at an event hosted by Vodacom.
Vodacom told MyBroadband on Sunday that three women were assaulted, and goods stolen from a Vodacom store at the Mall of the North.
Vodacom said it condemned any form of violent behaviour, including wanton destruction of property associated with such actions.
It added that the incidents are “seemingly linked” to comments made by Corruption Watch chairperson Mavuso Msimang at the recent Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards.
Msimang said Julius Malema and the EFF were abusers of democracy and showed an image of them during a presentation.
Vodacom defended Msimang’s comments, saying it believes in freedom of expression and would not censor Msimang’s views or those of other opinion makers.
EFF Secretary in the Limpopo province, Jossey Buthane, later said there has been no official mandate, request, or statement from the EFF to go to Vodacom shops and protest.
Why Vodacom met with the EFF
Vodacom has released a joint statement with the EFF, saying it met to discuss comments and slides presented by Msimang, and the subsequent unrest.
“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 said.
“Vodacom and EFF appreciate that the matter could have been handled differently to avoid the misunderstanding that occurred.”
The parties also committed to engage on policy issues of mutual interest and consider the matter to be closed.
EFF’s meeting with Vodacom
Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub can be seen listening to Julius Malema in an EFF branded boardroom in the photo below.
EFF’s meeting with MTN
Speaking to BusinessTech, MTN said that while it had met with the EFF on Monday, it was not related to the disruptions happening at Vodacom stores.
A group spokesperson said that the telco group had scheduled a meeting with the EFF as part of its routine stakeholder engagements long before the weekend events took place, and it was simply a coincidence that the meetings took place around the same time as Vodacom.
MTN did not disclose what was discussed.