Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Business of Tech

SA's Vodacom vows to fight 'Please Call Me' court ruling

Article Image
Pan-African operator Vodacom has vowed that it will appeal a South African Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgment pertaining to the now infamous "Please Call Me" (PCM) case.

South African-headquartered Vodacom suffered another loss in a long legal battle, with the SCA ruling against it on Tuesday but said it would appeal the case before the Constitutional Court of South Africa (ConCourt).

Vodacom's loss stems from an appeal it brought against an earlier high court judgment that found it had not offered PCM inventor Nkosana Makate enough by way of compensation for the service.

Makate is credited with coming up with the PCM idea back in 2000, which allows mobile users without any airtime to send a free text message requesting that someone call them.

The SCA ruled that Makate is entitled to receive between 5% to 7.5% of the total money generated from the idea, including interest - revenue generated over 18 years, from 2001 to 2019.

The SCA ordered Vodacom to determine a new compensation for Makate within 30 days of the judgment.

The SCA ordered Vodacom to determine a new compensation for Makate within 30 days of the latest judgment.   (Source: Paula Gilbert)
The SCA ordered Vodacom to determine a new compensation for Makate within 30 days of the latest judgment.
(Source: Paula Gilbert)

"Vodacom notes the judgment of the supreme court of appeal of South Africa in the case of Vodacom (Pty) Ltd v Makate, which was handed down on February 6, 2024," the telco said in a statement via the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

"Vodacom is surprised and disappointed with the judgment and will bring an application for leave to appeal before the ConCourt within the prescribed period," the statement continued.

'Please Call Me' saga

Makate began his legal battle in 2008 after subsequently leaving Vodacom and receiving no compensation for the idea. The case has been in and out of various SA courts many times since then.

In 2022, the Pretoria High Court, told Vodacom it needed to pay Makate more than the R47 million (US$3.1 million at the time) it offered for his idea.

In April 2016 the Constitutional Court ordered Vodacom to "negotiate in good faith" and provide "reasonable compensation" to Makate for his PCM idea.

Negotiations ensued between Vodacom and Makate but no agreement was reached and the Constitutional Court ordered Vodacom's current CEO, Shameel Joosub, to determine a reasonable amount of compensation to be paid to Makate.

In January 2019, Joosub offered R47 million (US$3.1 million at the time).

That offer was way below what Makate thought he deserved. He had originally asked Vodacom for 15% of all PCM revenue should the product be successful. In 2016, his legal counsel argued that would amount to around R10.5 billion ($693.6 million at the time).

After two decades and numerous setbacks, one thing that has never changed is Makate's determination not to back down until he is paid what he believes he is owed for his invention.

Related posts:

*Top image is of Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub (Source: Vodacom Group)

Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

AI's impact on African telcos

Many African telecommunications companies are turning to artificial intelligence as a differentiator to improve their mobile networks and enhance customer service and experience as they transition from traditional telco offerings into new tech-first verticals.

Story

Four AI trends to look out for in 2024

Connecting Africa has compiled a list of four artificial intelligence (AI) trends to look out for on the African continent in 2024.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Upcoming events

AfreGov 2024
March 12-14, 2024
Kigali, Rwanda
Africa Tech Festival 2024
November 11-14, 2024
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Sponsored video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Africa Tech Perspectives

Story

Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.

Story

The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.

Story

Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: January 2024

By Omdia Analysts

Highlights in January 2024 in the Middle East and Africa included a $200 million fintech deal between MTN and Mastercard as well as 5G network trials by Telecom Egypt – that and more in this month's Omdia View.

Story

Omdia View: September 2023

By Omdia Analysts

Highlights in September 2023 in the Middle East and Africa included more 5G spectrum licenses, vendor and operator strategies, and partnerships – that and more in this month's Omdia View.

More Guest Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up
Tag id test-002