Nkosana Makate, a former Vodacom employee invented ‘Please Call Me’ service 20 years ago claims he was never compensated over his intellectual property and has been in a long legal battle ever since.
According to OkayAfrica,Makate is said to have invented the popular ‘please call me’ text messaging service which allows mobile users to send a request to their contacts to call them without needing to have any money on their cell phones. At first, Vodacom claimed that Makate did not in fact come up with the innovation, a claim which was thrown out by the Constitutional Court after they ordered Vodacom to give Makate reasonable compensation. Vodacom recently offered Makate R49 million (approximately USD 3.6 million) which Makate refused. He is now demanding R70 billion (approximately USD 5.2 billion), an amount which has left South Africans divided with some feeling it is an outrageous demand whilst others feel it is deserved.
Vodacom is currently putting a deal together and has confirmed that Makate’s funds will be transferred as soon as the company has received his bank account details.
Makate responded saying: “I haven’t reached any deal with Vodacom, I was dumped with some determination that the deal was done. We are reviewing that and we will be taking it up further.”
Lobby groups and the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party along with other politicians urge Vodacom to pay Makate his dues and ‘do the right thing.’
South Africans took to Twitter in support of Nkosana Makate with #BoycottVodacom