Vodacom ordered to compensate inventor of the 'Please Call Me'

The Constitutional Court has ordered Vodacom to discuss compensation for Nkosana Makate (pictured), the alleged inventor of the 'Please Call Me'. Makate opines that the Please Call Me service, which has been in existence since 2000, has generated as much as R70 billion for Vodacom over the years.

Justice Chris Jafta, who delivered the judgement, said:

"The stance taken by Vodacom [to not compensate Makate] is unfortunate. It was unethical for Vodacom to refuse compensation… This leaves a sour taste in the mouth. It is not the kind of conduct to be expected from an ethical corporate entity... The service had become so popular and profitable that revenue in huge sums of money was generated, for Vodacom to smile all the way to the bank. Yet it did not compensate the applicant even with a penny for his idea."

Justice Jafta added that should compensation negotiations fail, the matter must be sent to Shameel Joosub, Vodacom's CEO, to determine reasonable compensation.

The court also ordered that compensation be made within 30 days and that the cost of litigation be borne by Vodacom.

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