South Africa High Court Orders Huge Payout for Vodacom’s ‘Please Call Me’ Inventor

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The High Court in South Africa has ruled that Vodacom’s “Please Call Me” inventor, Nkosana Makate, is entitled to 5% of the total voice revenue generated from the micro-text service from March 2001 to March 2021.

The amount could be much higher than the TZS 7Billion previously offered by the giant mobile phone operator following a 2019 Constitutional Court ruling. Makate, who described the Monday judgment as a “big relief” – had rejected the R47 million settlement and sought a court review.

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria also ordered that Makate is entitled to 27% of the revenue generated by the return of calls sent through the Please Call Me platform.

Judge Wendy Hughes ordered the CEO of Vodacom, Shameel Joosub, to finalise the determination within a month of this order.

The company has indicated that it will appeal the judgment.

In January 2019, about 200 protesters from the Please Call Me Movement marched to Vodacom headquarters demanding R70 billion for Makate.

It’s once again back to the drawing board for Vodacom as its battle with Makate intensifies. The High Court has given the mobile operator one month to recalculate what it owes the inventor.

Makate and Vodacom have been at loggerheads for over 10 years. He wants Vodacom’s offer of R47 million set aside and believes he is owed billions for his ‘Please Call Me’ idea.

The Constitutional Court affirmed Makate was the inventor of ‘Please Call Me’ in 2016.

Vodacom says it will appeal the High Court judgment by Justice Wendy Hughes.

Vodacom says it remains of the view its negotiations with Makate were in good faith, as determined in the order of the Constitutional Court issued on 26th April 2016.

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