Gopolang Moloko
2 minute read
21 Jan 2019
2:38 pm

Lesufi sets deadline for Vodacom to pay Makate ‘or else’

Gopolang Moloko

The MEC challenges the nation to rally behind Please Call Me inventor as they attempt to coerce the cellphone company.

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi has given Vodacom till the end of January to pay Please Call Me-inventor Nkosana Makate. In a tweet, the MEC challenged the cellphone network to pay Makate by January 31st, 2019, or face the wrath of the nation.

“We are an economy and we can shut it down. We are inundated with messages of support. Let’s avoid this please, please.”

Lesufi told the cellphone giant their countdown started on Sunday.

The battle between Makate and Vodacom has been ongoing for over a decade. Earlier this month, Vodacom announced that a settlement agreement had been reached with Makate – meaning the inventor would be compensated.

“Vodacom can confirm that the group CEO has met with the legal representatives to convey his decision and determination on reasonable compensation. In line with the Constitutional Court Order, the Vodacom group chief executive officer was directed to determine the amount of reasonable compensation payable to Mr. Kenneth Makate for the idea that led to the development of the Please Call Me product, in the event of Vodacom and Mr. Makate’s negotiating teams failing to reach agreement on the quantum of such reasonable compensation.”

Makate took to social media dispelling the announcement. He said he had not agreed to any settlement with Vodacom. “The amount that the CEO has determined is shocking and an insult. I am currently being advised by my legal team on remedies available to me.”

Lesufi, who has been spearheading the matter, has been challenging the network and added that he had lost respect for the brand. He even said he was terminating all relationships he had with Vodacom, even if that meant changing numbers.

“You are a disgrace and greedy,” said Lesufi.

The network replied by stating that a decision on reasonable compensation to Makate based on the Constitutional Court had been communicated to Makate and his attorneys.

This was later followed by communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams telling the network to “just shut up” in response to a statement Vodacom made.

The Constitutional Court ruled Makate should be compensated by Vodacom for his involvement in the invention. The inventor has estimated the compensation to be in the tens of billions.

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