A looming deadline set by Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi for Vodacom to pay Nkosana Makate has resulted in Vodacom sending a cease and desist letter to him.
Vodacom has served Lesufi with a lawyer’s letter warning him to stop commenting on its ongoing battle with Makate. The education MEC responded by challenging the company to “bring it on” in a tweet on Wednesday morning.
“You can’t bully me or silence my support to the weak and vulnerable. This is a democratic country and I have the right to express my views without fear. The apartheid regime detained me without trial. I am not scared.”
He shared the lawyer’s letter on Twitter, warning him to desist from making “false and defamatory comments of, and concerning” their client [Vodacom] in relation to litigation with Makate.
Part of the letter reads: “He will desist from false and defamatory comments of and concerning our client in relation to its litigation with Mr Makate in general and in particular that our client is in full breach of the Constitutional Court order or that it is acting in an unfair and morally repugnant manner towards Mr Makate.”
The letter also warns Lesufi not to incite any disruptions at Vodacom stores across the country. This comes after Lesufi on January 20 told the cellphone network they had a deadline to pay Makate or “face the wrath of the nation”.
The lawyer’s letter calls on Lesufi to: “desist from calling for and/or inciting the invasion and occupation of the Vodaworld store or any other of our client’s premises including but not limited to its various stores around the country on January 31 or any other future date.”
Bring it on @Vodacom ! I am NOT easily intimidated. You can’t bully me or silence my support to the weak and vulnerable. This is a democratic country and I have the right to express my views without fear. The apartheid regime detained me without trial . I am not scared! pic.twitter.com/E62GnxFiJ8
— Panyaza Lesufi (@Lesufi) January 30, 2019
This comes after the network operator announced they had reached a settlement agreement with Makate and would compensate him for his invention.
Makate took to social media to label the offer ridiculous and insulting.
The decade long battle between Makate and Vodacom continues and social media appear to be on Lesufi’s side, signalling a potential migration.
I’m moving https://t.co/6ux0LioB5X
— Sentletse (@Sentletse) January 30, 2019
— Baby Boy???????? (@Tshwarii_) January 30, 2019
It's time for black people to have a full consumer boycott against @Vodacom
— Noxolo (@noxs010) January 30, 2019
The Constitutional Court ruled Makate should be compensated by Vodacom for his involvement in the invention, but did not stipulate the amount, calling on the cellular giant to determine a “fair” figure.
The inventor has estimated the compensation to be in the tens of billions.