'I gave it my all' : Please Call Me inventor pins hopes on latest attempt after 20-year tussle with Vodacom

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Nkosana Makate, Please Call Me inventor Photo: Leon Sadiki
Nkosana Makate, Please Call Me inventor Photo: Leon Sadiki
  • "Please Call Me" inventor Nkosana Makate said he is expecting the judge to rule in his favour in his latest battle with Vodacom
  • Judgment for the review hearing of the R47 million compensation, offered by Vodacom, has been reserved. 
  • Vodacom defended its position saying the CEO Shameel Joosub was justified in the offering Makate that amount. Makate says he deserves more than R10 billion

Nkosana Makate, who believes he deserves more than R10 billion in compensation from Vodacom for creating its "Please Call Me" feature, says he has given all that he could in his 20-year battle with the cellular provider, and has pinned all his hopes on the courts ruling in his favour.

"I am feeling upbeat. I think the judge must retreat now to do her judgment. From my side I think I gave it my all. I have given the judge enough ammunition and evidence to do her job," Makate told Fin24

Judge Wendy Hughes reserved judgment after last week's proceedings for a review hearing of the offer of R47 million in compensation, calculated by Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub.

In their submission, Makate's team said that in light of how Vodacom has dealt with the matter in the past, it would be inappropriate to send the case back to the CEO to determine a new amount.

In 2016 the Constitutional Court ruled that Vodacom had to enter into negotiations with Makate to find fair compensation. After this, Joosub offered R47 million, but Makate said it was not enough and is demanding more than R10 billion.

Vodacom defended its position and argued that the CEO acted fairly and within reason when he offered Makate the R47 million compensation.

Further, Advocate Wim Trengove, SC, for Vodacom, said that Makate had not demonstrated that the R47 million is patently inequitable.

Advocate Cedric Puckrin, SC, for Makate, on Friday questioned how "inequitable" Please Call Me must have been for Vodacom "to use it for 20 years, but the CEO says Makate must be compensated for five years?"

Makate's team said it was blindsided and that Joosub was not transparent when calculating the compensation.

Vodacom's proposed remuneration model says that 20% should be given to Makate for each call made after a Please Call Me was sent within an hour.

Although Makate is in agreement with the 20%, Puckrin said the mathematics does not equate to R47 million from March 2001 to March 2021.

"Please Call Me continues unabated and Vodacom has made roughly R205 billion," said Puckrin.

There was a strong contention between the parties on how much money is generated after a person has sent a message and the receiving party responds by phoning back.

Puckrin asked that the court put the legal costs of this case on Vodacom, including the cost of several experts Makate had to consult in his legal bid.

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