DURBAN - Social Media users have backed Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi’s challenge for Vodacom to pay Please Call Me inventor Nkosana Makate by January31.

In a tweet, Lesufi challenged the cellphone network to pay Makate or face the wrath of the nation. The countdown started on Sunday.

“Hi @Vodacom the countdown starts now, 11 days to go. Please #VodaPayHim by 10am, January 31, or face the wrath of the nation. We are the economy and we can shut it down. We are inundated with messages of support.

“Let’s avoid this, please #VodaPayHim#VodaCountdown11.”

Lesufi’s tweets follow the network operator’s announcement early this month that it had reached a settlement with Makate and would pay him reasonable compensation for his call-back service idea. Makate, however, rejected the announcement.

The battle between Vodacom and Makate dates back more than a decade.

People have rallied behind Lesufi, some even threatening to leave the network operator if it did not pay. While some have stated that they did not understand why the MEC had intervened, many have shown him support.

Twitter user @LHadebe said: “I am fine without my @Vodacom services the same way I said bye-bye to OUTsurance, just felt like tagging some friends I have since walked away from because they gave me bad service. @vodacom please pay the guy his money.”

@themba1249 said he would even skip work to ensure the “brother” was paid.

@Marinus_Bell said the MEC was deliberately encouraging violence.

“You are deliberately encouraging violence. This is your game? Totally unacceptable. This is not democracy.”