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Vodacom must pay

Nkosana Makate.
Nkosana Makate.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

It is shocking that two years after the Constitutional Court judgment, which ordered Vodacom to recognise Please Call Me inventor Nkosana Makate for his idea, the two have failed to reach an agreement.

The cellphone giant and Makate are going back to court after he rejected its latest offer of R47m, and is demanding more.

In court papers, Makate says he believes that based on Vodacom's offer that he is entitled to 5% of the revenue made through Please Call Me, he should be getting R10bn plus interest. This is based on his team's calculations which found the company had earned R205bn in revenue from the idea over 18 years.

However, Vodacom said it would oppose his latest application and said it believed it had "entered into negotiations and negotiated with Mr Makate and his team in good faith, in accordance with the order of the Constitutional Court".

Based on the figures stated above, what Vodacom is offering Makate is an insult. It is not even 1% of the billions the company generated from Makate's idea.

We commend Makate for rejecting the peanuts offered to him, and demanding what he believes he deserves for his idea.

It is disappointing to see this matter drag on for so many years without an amicable solution, with Vodacom offering such a measly amount.

As the parties head back to court, we wish Makate all the best.

And we have faith in our courts that Makate will eventually walk away with a reasonable amount he would be happy with. A big company such as Vodacom should do the right thing and give Makate what is rightly due to him.

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