Nkosana Makate. Picture: Timothy Bernard
Nkosana Makate. Picture: Timothy Bernard

Makate - 'Please Call Me" financial info should be revealed'

By Wesley Diphoko Time of article published Dec 13, 2019

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CAPE TOWN -  Nkosana Makate, the inventor of “Please Call Me” has filed court papers on Thursday, 12 December 2019,  to challenge the R47m settlement previously offered to him, which the inventor turned down. 

He wants Vodacom to fully disclose the financial information upon which  the offer was made. In the court papers Makate suggests that some financial information has been deliberately concealed. 

This he believes may prevent the court to arrive at a fair conclusion about the settlement that is due to him.  “I respectfully submit that I am entitled to interrogate the figures by having access to the underlying data  and financial information, including the voice revenue relating to unbundle minutes which monthly subscribers pay for aswell as out of bundle revenue for the entire period of 2001 to 2018” the inventor indicates in court papers.

Makate has been embroiled in a legal dispute with Vodacom for more than a decade. Recently the matter was almost resolved when the Constitutional court declared Makate as the true inventor of the “Please Call Me” service. Makate developed the “Please Call Me” concept in the early 2000s. The service enables cellphone users to send text messages to be called back. The service has been very popular in South Africa due to the cost of telecommunications which are unaffordable for many. Makate’s idea was that the service should be focused on people with prepaid cellphones, who were out of airtime. This target market was key and became the major user of the service.

Makate presented the idea to Vodacom in 2000 however instead of being recognised for the concept the Vodacom CEO, Alan Knott-Craig at the time, claimed to be the inventor of the service in his book titled Second Is Nothing. Ever since  “Please Call Me” service was launched Vodacom has earned its revenue, which has mainly been through advertising, and Makate has received nothing.

Makates request to the courts for the "Please Call Me" service financial information to be revealed to him may lay foundation for him to have access to billions in settlements from the idea. 

According to the inventor he has not been given legitimate reasons as to why he cannot have access to the “Please Call Me” service financial information.


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