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Wednesday, 28 February 2024 11:42

Vodacom launches ConCourt challenge against Please Call Me inventor Makate.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Vodacom group says it has filed papers to apply for leave to appeal at the Constitutional Court over its ongoing saga with Nkosana Makate and the Please Call Me service.

The SCA ruled earlier this month that Nkosana Kenneth Makate should be compensated within a range between R29 billion and R55 billion, this is around 15% of Vodacom total market capitalisation.

The group argued in its application for leave to appeal to the Constitutional Court that the SCA judgment and order were "fundamentally flawed".

"The impact of the SCA Judgment, should it be upheld, would be vast and wide-ranging on both Vodacom South Africa and Vodacom Group, as well as the attractiveness of South Africa as an investment destination," the group said.

"It would negatively impact our employees, shareholders and Vodacom's contribution to public finances. It would also have an impact on our network investment, coverage, and social programmes."

Vodacom said it has previously negotiated with Makate in an attempt to agree on reasonable compensation payable to him. However, it noted that these efforts failed.

"Vodacom remains open to constructive dialogue and good faith negotiations and, without prejudice to its Constitutional Court Appeal process, to agree a fair and reasonable amount as compensation for Makate's idea that led to the development of the PCM product," it said.

"It is Vodacom's desire that the matter be amicably resolved and brought to a timely conclusion."

The dispute between Makate and Vodacom dates back to 2007, when he sent letters of demand to the company stating he was promised compensation for his idea.

Makate launched legal action against Vodacom in 2008.

The case made its way through the High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal, which both ruled in favour of Vodacom.

It landed in front of the Constitutional Court in 2016, which ruled that Makate was owed compensation.

South Africa's apex court ordered Vodacom and Makate to negotiate compensation in good faith.

According to court documents, Makate demanded R20 billion, and Vodacom countered with R10 million.

At the same time, there was a flurry of legal action in which Makate’s legal team demanded documents and data from Vodacom about the revenue Please Call Me generated.