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Vodacom shuts stores at Midrand HQ as protesters arrive

Protesters have started arriving at the Vodacom campus in Midrand to intensify their call for the network giant to pay Nkosana Makate the amount that he says is due to him.

A group of supporters arrive at Vodaworld in Midrand in support of 'Please call me' inventor Nkosana Makate's fight for compensation against Vodacom. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - A group of people has descended on Vodacom’s headquarters in Midrand in support of Nkosana Makate, who came up with the idea for the 'Please call me' message service.

The so-called Please Call Me Movement gave the telecommunications giant a deadline of 10am on Thursday morning to compensate Makate with what he says is due to him.

Makate came up with the messaging concept when he was still an employee of Vodacom almost 20 years ago.

About 50 people wearing T-shirts from different organisations, including the EFF, ANC and its youth league, as well as labour unions are marching through the street leading to Vodaworld.

They're demanding that Nkosana Makate be paid R70 billion for his contribution of the please call me service.

Security has been stepped up outside Vodaworld, with the gates locked with chains and police guarding entrances while Nyalas patrol the streets.

Supporters say that if Makate is not compensated with what he deserves they will step up pressure on Vodacom.
Vodacom spokesperson Byron Kennedy says that its stores inside the campus have been closed for the day.

"Naturally, the safety and security of staff and customers remains of utmost importance to Vodacom and we do have measures in place to deal with various scenarios. We are willing to pay Mr Makate a substantial amount and we have fully complied with the Constitutional Court order on the matter."

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