44-year-old Nkosana Makate has declined KES 354Mn from Vodacom for the invention of the “Please call me” service. He states that the amount is too little. The cellular giant Vodacom and the inventor are now in the South African courts trying to determine if it is sufficient.
Please Call Me Inventor Goes To Court
Nkosana Makate is contesting the amount as he deems the service as worth much more than what they are offering. In fact, he is demanding KES 75 billion compensation for coming up with the concept. (It has been in use since 2001.)
The Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has been hearing from both sides over three days from May 4 to 6. They hope to bring and end to the 20-year-old saga.
“So instead of sending the matter back to the CEO for a new determination, we are asking that the court make the determination,” Senior Counsel Gilbert Marcus, representing Makate, explains.
Makate, who worked for Vodacom, shared the idea of the messaging service with his employer. However, he never received payment for it. He filed a lawsuit against the company after he was not paid for the product. In 2016, he won his case against Vodacom.
After the court ruled in favor of Makate, Vodacom’s CEO Shaamel Joosub had offered him KES 354M. However, Makate is declining the amount, saying it’s too little.
Makate’s lawyers argued that since the service was initially offered for free, it was not a money-spinner. They also noted that since 2001, Vodacom had made at least R205 billion from call revenue from the same service.