EFF and Vodacom release joint statement saying they’ve kissed and made up
The two parties plan to engage on 'policy issues of mutual interest' and say the matter has now been resolved.
An image at the 2018 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards which features a picture of EFF leadership and the words “abusers of democracy” | Image: Facebook
The EFF has released a joint statement with massive cellular telecommunications company Vodacom, saying the two entities have “resolved the issue”, following the controversy surrounding a slide displayed at the cellphone company’s 2018 Journalist of the Year Awards.
The slide, part of a keynote address by Corruption Watch chairperson Mavuso Msimang, called the EFF “Abusers of Democracy”.
The EFF in Limpopo was accused of vandalising one of the company’s stores in retaliation.
According to the statement the two parties “discussed the matter in detail”, with Vodacom acknowledging that it was politically neutral and did not influence political positions.
The statement also says both parties have acknowledged the matter “could have been handled differently” to avoid the misunderstanding.
Both Vodacom and the EFF “encourage the right of freedom of speech and the free circulation of ideas” according to the statement.
It adds the two parties plan to engage on “policy issues of mutual interest and consider the matter to be closed”.
EFF and Vodacom Joint Statement pic.twitter.com/wST9tAZQbT
— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) December 4, 2018
Vodacom received criticism on social media following the circulation of a picture showing the slide with its “Abusers of Democracy” caption next to Vodacom logos.
In a statement, Vodacom distanced itself from the comments, saying it could not “censor” Msimang’s views as it believed in freedom of expression.
“Vodacom can confirm that Corruption Watch chairperson, Mavuso Msimang, was invited to give the keynote address at last night’s Vodacom Journalist of the Year 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. 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.”
Vodacom stores at Mall of the North in Polokwane and Makhado in Limpopo were reportedly vandalised following the picture spreading on social media.
Anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee posted videos and pictures of a crowd of people, allegedly EFF members, singing and dancing after vandalising stores.
The EFF in Limpopo, however, denied having done so.
(Compiled by Daniel Friedman)