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‘Please Call Me’ inventor Nkosana Makate Is Back In Court Contesting Vodacom’s Compensation

‘Please Call Me’ inventor Nkosana Makate Is Back In Court Contesting Vodacom’s Compensation. ‘Please Call Me’ inventor Nkosana Makate is back in court, as he refused to settle for R47 million that Vodacom has offered him for using the ‘Please Call Me’ service. Makate believes that Vodacom benefited billions of Rands when they were using the service for years.

Nkosana Makate is a South African who proposed the “Please Call Me” concept to Vodacom. His idea consisted of sending a free message to other Vodacom users in order to request that they call you, even if you do not have enough credit available to do so. Nkosana Makate shared the concept with his employer, but never received payment for it. He laid a charge against Vodacom and won the case against them after an 8-year battle.

Vodacom started the Please Call Me service in 2001. A 2014 judgment in the South Gauteng High Court supported Makate’s claim to having originated Please Call Me. It also rejected former CEO Alan Knott-Craig’s claim that he had come up with the idea of the messaging service. Yet the High Court found against Makate, holding that Geissler had not had the authority to promise Makate such compensation and that the debt would have expired (in legal terms, been prescribed) within three years. Makate appealed the case, and later took it to the Constitutional Court. In April 2016 Justice Chris Jafta found in Makate’s favour and against Vodacom.

According t Independent Online, it was ordered that he had to receive copies of all underlying data and financial information for the period 2001 to 2018, which Vodacom used when it determined what was owed to Makate. The documents included financial statements and copies of contracts the cellphone giant concluded with other service providers to see what they had learnt from Makate’s invention.

Vodacom and its chief executive refused to give Makate the documents he asked for. It was argued they did not have some of the documents, as they did not exist, and that other documents, such as agreements with other service providers and financial statements, were confidential. The matter is being heard at the Pretoria High Court, Makate refused to accept Vodacom’s R47 million compensation deal as he believes that he should be compensated with R10 Billion for the service.

By Thomas Chiothamisi

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