Self-declared members and supporters of the EFF, many wearing party T-shirts, attacked at least two Vodacom stores over the weekend, according to Business Insider SA.
The owner of the Vodacom franchise at Mall of the North reported that three women were assaulted and goods stolen during the incursion.
In a press statement, DA Member of the Limpopo Provincial Legislature, Jacques Smalle, threatened to open a case at the Polokwane police station at 8am on Monday against what he termed “EFF hooligans” who vandalised the store.
“It is alleged that these EFF supporters vandalised the store while protesting against the image of Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu shown at the Vodacom Journalist of the Year awards captioned ‘abusers of democracy’,” said Smalle.
The DA condemned the incident and urged law enforcement units to investigate the matter and arrest members of the EFF, said Smalle.
“This is clearly a sign of things to come for the EFF. If they don’t like something, as they have shown with their continued attack on the press, they will use violence and destruction at all costs,” he concluded.
Responding to the DA, Buthane said the threats were an act by whites to continue “killing black dignity and black souls”.
He noted that the leadership of the EFF in Limpopo have not issued any call for members to attack the store.
“In all our spheres, from branches to national, [we] have never issued statements that said Vodacom must be attacked … even though there was an attack by Vodacom to our national leadership,” said Buthane.
He said the party kept quiet and never even released a media statement against Vodacom.
“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.
He added that by laying charges against the EFF, Smalle was of the view that it will secure him the post of becoming the next premier of Limpopo. “He is day-dreaming,” Buthane said.
On Friday, Vodacom issued a statement that it was against discrimination and bigotry in all their manifestations, including race, age, gender, disability, religion, sexual orientation and political thought.
It confirmed that Corruption Watch chairperson, Mavuso Msimang, was invited to give the keynote address at the Vodacom Journalist of the Year awards to speak on the importance of media freedom and why it should be preserved.
“Msimang’s views are his own and are not those held by Vodacom. Vodacom believes in freedom of expression and would not censor Msimang’s views or those of other opinion-makers,” the statement read.
On Saturday, Vodacom stores in Centurion, Hatfield and Eastlynne closed as people clad in EFF T-shirts demonstrated against the mobile network operator.