Vodacom ‘Please Call Me’ settlement offer ‘an insult’ – Makate

Nkosana Makate, the former Vodacom employee who came up with the concept behind the widely-used ‘Please Call Me’ phone service, has rejected the mobile operator’s claims that a settlement agreement had been reached between him and the company.

In April 2016, the Constitutional Court ordered that Vodacom “commence negotiations in good faith with Mr Kenneth Nkosana Makate for determining a reasonable compensation.”

The court also ordered that Vodacom’s CEO be the one who determines the amount “within a reasonable time” in the event that the two parties fail to reach a deal.

But in a recent Facebook post, Makate described the offer that he was given by Vodacom’s CEO Shameel Joosub as “shocking and an insult”, writing that he is currently consulting his legal team to determine a way forward. He further expressed that Vodacom “has not apologised for their despicable conduct for the past 18 years.”

Vodacom, in a statement, said that Joosub “in his judicially determined deadlock breaking role, received oral and written representations from both parties after the negotiations between the two parties had deadlocked.”

According to the statement, the CEO met with Makate’s legal team “to convey his decision and determination” and both parties signed a confidentiality agreement which impedes Vodacom from disclosing the amount set by the CEO.

Vodacom said Makate’s funds will be transferred to him as soon as he provides his banking details.

“Vodacom considers the matter as finally settled and closed,” the statement reads.

Makate invented the “Please Call Me” service in 2000, while employed as a trainee accountant by Vodacom. The idea was borne from the inconvenience of his long distance girlfriend not being able to contact him when she had run out of airtime.

He has been negotiating with Vodacom for several years in an attempt to get “reasonable compensation” for the service.

After initial negotiations, the parties reached an oral agreement. Vodacom would use Makate’s idea which would be tested in a trial, and Makate would be paid a share in the revenue that his product generated if the product was successful. Makate originally indicated that he wanted 15% of the revenue, but negotiations on the amount were deferred to a later date.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertisting

Stella set to retain her perks

Communication minister will keep Cabinet perks during her two months of special leave

Not a sweet deal, Mister

Mister Sweet workers say they will not risk their health, and the lives of others, to continue producing and packaging confectionaries

Covid-19 grounds Nigeria’s medical tourists

The country’s elites, including the president, travelled abroad for treatment but now they must use the country’s neglected health system

Nehawu launches urgent court bid over protective gear for health...

The health workers’ union says the government has rebuffed its attempts to meet about mitigating risks to workers

Press Releases

Rahima Moosa Hospital nursing college introduces no-touch facial recognition access system

The new system allows the hospital to enrol people’s faces immediately, using artificial intelligence, and integrates easily with existing access control infrastructure, including card readers and biometrics

Everyone’s talking about it. Even Kentucky

Earlier this year South African fried chicken fast-food chain, Chicken Licken®, launched a campaign for their wallet-friendly EasyBucks® meals, based on the idea of ‘Everyone’s talking about it.’

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world