‘Please Call Me’ inventor explores options after Vodacom's ‘ridiculous, insulting’ settlement
Nkosana Makate came up with the idea in 2000 and has been fighting to be compensated
Nkosana Makate, the former employee behind the Please Call Me service, says he is exploring his options after Vodacom decided on a “ridiculous and insulting” sum of money to settle a long-standing dispute between them.
Vodacom said over the weekend it considered the matter “finally settled and closed” after its CEO, Shameel Joosub, had decided on a “reasonable” payment for Makate, the former employee who came up with the idea in late 2000.
The mobile operator did not disclose the amount, citing a confidentiality agreement.
This comes nearly three years after the Constitutional Court ruled that Makate must be compensated for coming up with the idea behind the service, which lets subscribers request call-backs for no charge.
The court did not set parameters for what “reasonable compensation” should be if the parties could not reach an agreement.
After negotiations on a fair payment reached a deadlock, it fell to Joosub to arbitrate on the matter. He received oral and written representations from both parties in October 2018 before deciding on the amount to be paid.
Makate told Business Day on Sunday the sum was “ridiculous and insulting” and he was consulting his legal team to “explore the remedies available to us”.
He said in a separate statement that “Vodacom has not apologised for their despicable conduct for the past 18 years, as found by the Constitutional Court”.
A Vodacom spokesperson said the company would pay Makate “as soon as we have the banking account details”.
The mobile operator said in a statement over the weekend that Joosub had met Makate’s legal representatives to convey his decision and the amount payable.
In June 2018 the company approached the High Court in Pretoria to obtain an interdict order prohibiting Makate from disclosing any details about the discussions to external parties. However, the matter was not heard as Makate did not oppose it.