Mobile communications company, Vodacom, has condemned the vandalising of its Mall of the North outlet in Polokwane and intimidation of staff by alleged Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) supporters on Sunday.

They stormed the store protesting against an image of party leader, Julius Malema and his deputy Floyd Shivambu shown at the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards.

The image, displayed during an address by Corruption Watch Chairperson, Mavuso Msimang, was captioned “Abusers of Democracy”.

Vodacom’s spokesperson, Byron Kennedy, says three women were assaulted and some items stolen when the shop was vandalised.

“Vodacom respects the right of every South African to freedom of expression and to hold legal and peaceful protests. But we condemn any form of violent behaviour, including the destruction of properties. These incidents seem to be linked to comments made by Mavuso Msimang. He was talking about the importance of media freedom. Mr Msimang was speaking in his capacity as the chairperson of Corruption Watch. Obviously, the views are his own and not those held by Vodacom. Certain stores including Mall of the North will remain closed until further notice. The safety and security of our customers and franchise staff remains of utmost importance,” states Kennedy.

Secretary of the EFF in Limpopo, Jossey Buthane denies the party sent its supporters to target the company.

“The EFF has not issued any directive to anyone that it must attend to Vodacom. Even when Vodacom provoked the EFF, we just allowed the sleeping dogs lie. So when people on their own, South Africans on their own, all over the country decide to go and attend to Vodacom for what it started Vodacom must stand its ground and remember that it is the one that fired the first shot. It’s not every person wearing the ANC t-shirt, the DA t-shirt that belongs to those organisations. So the EFF did not send anyone to Vodacom.”