- Nkosana Makate, the developer of Vodacom's "Please Call Me" service, secured a victory in his protracted legal battle with the mobile giant
- The North Gauteng High Court ordered that Makate should get five per cent of the total voice revenue generated by the service
- The ex-Vodacom employee previously rejected a R47 million settlement offered after a Constitutional Court judgement in 2016
- Locals praised Makate's resilience ahead of the outcome, with some expressing dismay over Vodacom's impending appeal
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TSHWANE - A long-drawn court battle between mobile network communications company Vodacom and the originator of its "Please Call Me" micro-text service Nkosana Makate has concluded, for now.
A landmark ruling in the Gauteng High Court in Tshwane on Tuesday determined that Makate qualifies to get five per cent of the total voice revenue yielded by the service in the time from March 2001 to March 2021.
According to information available in the public domain, the service launched in February 2001, with Makate as its brainchild.
Since then, the former Vodacom employee, whose protracted legal battle with the cellphone giant stretches back nearly 14 years after the two parties reached an impasse on the former's claim over the service, cited previously that the creation had generated about R70 billion in revenue.
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This means the stake, which the presiding officer in the matter, Judge Wendy Hughes, has ordered to be reworked following the R47 million offer Vodacom tabled and which Makate subsequently rejected in 2019, could be considerably higher.
Vodacom offer to be reviewed
Makate described the judgment as a huge comfort after the court also determined he is entitled to 27 per cent of the income generated by the return of calls sent through the service.
Shameel Joosub, Vodacom's chief executive, has been ordered to apply the eighteen-year period which Makate claims Vodacom has benefitted from his invention when recalculating the amount due to him, according to an IOL report.
Joosub is required to finalise the finding within 30 days of the issuing of the said order. However, the company has no plans to take the judgement lying down and plans to file an appeal, News24 reported.
"We are adamant that negotiations between the company and [Makate] were sincere, which was shown in the Constitutional Court's order in April 2016," Joosub stated.
Masses welcome outcome
South Africans were fashionably vocal about the court judgement and welcomed the decision by the court. Briefly News takes a look at some of the loudest comments below.
@Debbie Landers wrote:
"I'm so so happy for him! It took long enough & affected his entire life. Vodacom should just pay & let it go now!!! Allow the man to live."
@Gino Mb said:
"Government and lawyers will be happy. About 40% of that will go to SARS. Lawyers will take a big chunk of that. Makate should still get a decent amount though. Vodacom should just pay and get it over with."
@Patrick Khoza added:
"Thumbs up, the guy has been resilient. I love it when a previously disadvantaged person prospers."
@S'busiso Mzizi offered:
"Some of you here were saying he is crazy, he won't get more than R47 million. Well, I guess the guy knew that R47 million is just a drop in the ocean!"
@Lucky Nkuna mentioned:
"By the time he gets that payout, he'll be receiving tons of Please Call Me's."
Student guilty of stealing R818k in NSFAS funds
Elsewhere, Briefly News recently reported that the Walter Sisulu University (WSU) student at the centre of the R14 million National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) debacle was found guilty of theft in the East London Regional Court.
In 2017, the student financial aid scheme mistakenly deposited the large sum of money into Sibongile Mani's account, of which she spent close to R820 000 in just over 70 days, EWN reported.
On Monday, the court disregarded the former accounting student's explanation that she did not intend to deny NSFAS its money, among the evidence presented by the state, having been eligible to receive a fixed monthly food allowance of R1 400.
Source: Briefly News