Vodacom has put my family through hell, says Makate

Nkosana Makate, the man who came up with the “Please Call Me” messaging concept when he was in the employ of Vodacom more than two decades ago, says the telecoms giant’s legal warfare has not broken his spirit, despite the difficulties he and his family have encountered over the years.

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) this week ruled in his favour. It ordered one of the largest communication companies to pay him between 5% and 7.5% of the total revenue accrued for its “Please Call Me” facility over 18 years. Payment to include interest. This  implies that Makate is entitled to a payment in the region of billions of rands.

Vodacom appeals judgement

But the company’s CEO, Shamel Joosub, is adamant that Makate is entitled to a 5% payment for five years. The figure is calculated to be R47-million. In this respect, the company is appealing the SCA judgment at the Constitutional Court.

“Vodacom is surprised and disappointed with the judgment. [It] will bring an application for leave to appeal before the Constitutional Court within the prescribed period,” it said.

Makate told Sunday World he was unfazed by Vodacom’s intention to appeal. He said the company was being “emotional” instead of acting justly.

Difficult journey

“As a family we have stood up together despite challenges and hell we went through. It has been a difficult journey but we kept soldiering on. We have tried to continue with our lives despite hardships brought by this case. I won’t lie that things have been easy. Honestly, it has been the toughest test of our lives and things are hard,” Makate said.

“Vodacom has said that it will appeal the SCA judgment. However, we have not received anything formal from their side. Until it happens, it will remain as a statement.” he said.

Milestone of 200m subscribers

Vodacom is worth R195-billion on the JSE. It recently reached a milestone of 200 million subscribers across different jurisdictions, including South Africa.

The group said its revenue grew 26.8% to R38.9-billion. It reported this in its latest trading update for the quarter to December, 

“I truly appreciate the support I received from South Africans. Their support is appreciated. The country has been behind us while this matter dragged. This matter must come to finality. Thereafter I can go on with my life and become productive and resourceful. And I can give back to the community,” Makate said.

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