Nkosana Makate and Vodacom Please Call Me saga continues in SCA

This comes after the Constitutional Court made a ruling that Vodacom compensate Nkosana Makate, however, the two parties cannot agree on the amount.

FILE: Kenneth Nkosana Makate at the Constitutional Court, where he won his case against Vodacom over the 'Please Call Me' service. Picture: Mia Lindeque/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - The drawn-out legal saga between the Please Call Me inventor, Nkosana Makate, and Vodacom continues in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) on Tuesday.

Makate developed the concept behind the Please Call Me service in 2000 while he was working as a trainee accountant at Vodacom.

But he wound up having to go to court in order to be officially recognised as the inventor after former Vodacom CEO Alan Knott-Craig tried taking the credit in his 2009 autobiography Second is Nothing.

The case eventually landed up in the Constitutional Court - which in 2016 found in Makate’s favour and ordered Vodacom to negotiate a “reasonable compensation” with him.

Seven years on, though, the parties still can’t agree on what “reasonable compensation” is.


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Vodacom has offered Makate R47-million, but he insists he’s owed 5% of the revenue generated off the back of his invention, which he puts at around R9 billion.

Last year, the Pretoria High Court found the amount Vodacom had proposed indeed wasn’t fair and sent the matter back to the CEO, Shameel Joosub, to make a new determination.

Vodacom is now appealing that decision, though.

In its papers, the company said Makate used a “conceptually and fundamentally flawed” model to arrive at his figures that it labels “grossly exaggerated”.

Vodacom also said the parties originally agreed to entrust the calculation of an appropriate amount to the CEO and that the offer tendered is “more than fair”.
Makate, for his part, said while R47 million may sound like a large sum of money, it’s only “a fraction of the billions of rands that Vodacom has raked in” since March 2001, when the Please Call Me service was first introduced.

He said it only amounts to 0.023% of the revenue generated while the courts have found he’s entitled to five.