'Please Call Me' inventor says he is upbeat ahead of review hearing over R47 million payout

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Nkosana Makate.
Nkosana Makate.
Leon Sadiki
  • Nkosana Makate and Vodacom will again square off in court in early May for another hearing in the protracted 'Please Call Me' saga. 
  • Following a Constitutional Court ruling in 2016, Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub in offered Makate R47 million for coming up with the concept.
  • But Makate, who is demanding R10 billion, has said the offer is not enough.


"Please Call Me" inventor Nkosana Makate says a court date has been set for a review hearing of the R47 million in compensation he has been offered by SA's largest cellular company Vodacom.

Makate and Vodacom have faced off in court on numerous occasions in a protracted legal dispute over compensation for coming up with the messaging service two decades ago.

Following a Constitutional Court ruling in 2016, Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub offered him R47 million.

But Makate, who is demanding over R10 billion, said the offer is not enough.

The two parties will now meet in the Pretoria High Court between 4-6 May for a review hearing of the compensation offer.

"I am feeling very upbeat about the review," Makate said on Saturday.

"We are on the last stretch of the fight with Vodacom, and the courts will be the last arbiter."

Further appeals were always possible, he added.

While Vodacom did not disclose the amount they offered Makate, the telecoms group said it was "substantial" and would "withstand the scrutiny of the courts'.

"We have acted ethically in resolving the matter," it said in 2019. "We call for sane and cool heads to prevail in our current highly politicised environment as we resolve this matter."

The group has also said that when Please Call Me launched it did not "generate any revenue for Vodacom as subscribers were not charged for the service".

"It was offered for free. The intended plan to charge for it after an initial period was abandoned, since there were many similar services in the market, which were offered for free.  It is not, nor ever has been a money-spinner."

However, as Fin24 previously reported, Makate's legal representative suggested that Please Call Me generated at least R205 billion in call revenue for Vodacom since 2001.

- Additional reporting by Sibongile Khumalo 

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