‘Please Call Me’ inventor Makate scores another court victory against Vodacom

Nkosana Makate. Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

‘Please Call Me’ inventor Nkosana Makate has won yet another court battle against cellphone giant Vodacom after a court ruled in his favour on the release of records and other contracts with other service providers.

The high court in Pretoria on Monday gave Vodacom 21 days to give Makate copies of financial records, other value added services contracts it had with other service providers, including those involving prepaid recharge, bulk messaging, Look4Me service and the 082911 emergency service.

Judge Jody Kollapen ruled that Makate should be given parts of a KPMG report, dated November 3 2008 which would be subjected to a “confidentiality regime” which includes not passing it on to any third party.

This is another twist in the 20-year long battle between Makate and Vodacom after he approached the court in December to force CEO Shameel Joosub to disclose the company’s financial records. Makate had filed court papers where he asked the court to issue an order forcing Joosub to disclose all documentation he relied on when offering him a R47m compensation in January last year for his idea. Makate rejected the offer, insisting he believed that the cellphone giant owed him R20bn.

The figure reflects a 5% share of an estimated R205bn revenue which Makate believes was generated from the Please Call Me service, including interest calculated over an 18-year period. In April 2016, the Constitutional Court ruled that Vodacom was bound to an agreement that Makate had with the company’s then director of product development Phillip Geissler.

The court ordered Vodacom to begin negotiations with Makate for a reasonable payout to compensate him. Makate initially demanded 15% of the Please Call Me proceeds.

By Isaac Mahlangu 


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