The constitutional court has delivered a judgement that South Africa’s largest telecommunications provider, Vodacom, must begin negotiations with Nkosana Makate, who claims to have invented the ‘Please Call Me’, to decide on compensation.
According to the judgement, if an agreement cannot be reached the matter will be given over to Vodacom’s CEO, Shameel Joosub, to determine ‘reasonable compensation.’
“The stance taken by Vodacom [to not compensate Makate] is unfortunate. It was unethical for Vodacom to refuse compensation… This leaves a sour taste in the mouth. It is not the kind of conduct to be expected from an ethical corporate entity,” said Justice Chris Jafta, who delivered the judgment.
Makate has said that the judgement has come as a relief to him, as he has been in battle with Vodacom for 16 years, including nine years of trials.
The court has ordered that compensation must be made within 30 days, and the cost of litigation carried by Vodacom.
According to Makate the ‘Please Call Me’ service has generated R70 billion for Vodacom since it was first implemented in 2000. He has reportedly said that he will be asking for 15c for every rand generated.