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‘It must end this year’: Malema says Vodacom should make an offer and end 16-year ‘Please Call Me’ battle

EFF leader Julius Malema says Vodacom should give ‘Please Call Me’ inventor Nkosana Makate an offer and end the 16-year legal debacle. File photo.
EFF leader Julius Malema says Vodacom should give ‘Please Call Me’ inventor Nkosana Makate an offer and end the 16-year legal debacle. File photo.

EFF leader Julius Malema believes mediation could bring an end to the Vodacom and “Please Call Me” inventor Nkosana Makate’s 16-year legal battle. 

This week, the mobile communications company lost another court appeal at the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein over compensation to Makate for his idea. The court ruled in favour of Makate, who rejected an offer of R47m made in 2019 and ordered the company to make a new offer to the former employee. 

“It is important to call for mediation if Vodacom truly has good intentions,” said Malema.

The track records of former chief justices such as Mogoeng Mogoeng and the late Pius Nkonzo Langa, and former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke, showed a retired judge could be an impartial mediator, he said.

Vodacom plans to appeal the SCA judgment and take the case to the Constitutional Court.

“The manner in which you [Vodacom] are treating an African brother with arrogance is unacceptable and will not be tolerated any longer,” he said. 

“It's time Vodacom stops its nonsense and takes full responsibility. What started as a simple transactional dispute between two parties has now become a national irritation because they think they can bully him. Appealing to the ConCourt to fight the SCA ruling in favour of Makate is unnecessary. Please don't say we are not nice people, be warned. 

“This issue will be resolved by the end of this year. Don't ask how but it will be resolved this year. Please note that if you have a solution to offer, you must contact Makate directly and not me.” 

SCA judge Ashton Scheepers gave Vodacom a month to give Makate “reasonable compensation”. 

He rejected Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub’s notion that Makate was to be paid on the basis of a five-year contractual period, saying compensation should be considered for a period of 18 years. 

“The second respondent [Joosub] would have awarded the applicant a contract for 18 years, commencing on March 1 2001 and terminating on February 28 2019. The award made by the second respondent shall take into account the time value of money, calculated at an average inflation rate of 5%, from March 1 2001 to February 28 2019,” the judgment read. 

TimesLIVE Premium reported Vodacom expressed unhappiness with the SCA judgment. 

“Vodacom is surprised and disappointed with the judgment and will bring an application for leave to appeal before the Constitutional Court of South Africa,” the company said.



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