'A big relief' - Court orders huge payout for Vodacom's 'Please Call Me' inventor

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
‘Please Call Me’ inventor Nkosana Makate.
‘Please Call Me’ inventor Nkosana Makate.
Leon Sadiki
  • Please Call Me inventor Nkosana Makate is entitled to 5% of total voice revenue generated by his invention, the High Court has ruled.
  • The court instructed the CEO of Vodacom to implement its order within a month.
  • Vodacom says it's going to appeal the court's decision.

The High Court 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 R47 million 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.

But the company has indicated that it will appeal the judgment.

Joosub was directed to make a fresh determination of Makate's payment of 5% of the total voice revenue generated from the 'Please Call Me' service and the total voice revenue revenue derived from prepaid, contract and interconnect fees.

Vodacom had previously stated that its R47 million payout was "overly generous".

"Vodacom remains of the view its negotiations with Mr Makate were held in good faith, as determined in the order of the Constitutional Court issued on 26 April 2016," the company said on Tuesday, vowing to appeal the judgment.

The Please Call Me service, which was launched in February 2001, allowed Vodacom subscribers to send a 'Please Call Me' text message free of charge to another user on the same network. Makate had in previous court hearings stated that the Please Call Me system, which he invented while employed by Vodacom, had earned the company about R70 billion in revenue.

Makate and Vodacom have been involved in the protracted court battle over payment for the concept since 2008. 

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot