Please Call Me “inventor” Kenneth Makate has denied that he and Vodacom have reached a settlement agreement.
EWN quoted Makate as saying that: “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,” said Makate.
His statement follows Vodacom claiming that it was paying out “reasonable compensation” to Makate for his idea to develop the call-back service.
“Vodacom can confirm that the group CEO [Shameel Joosub] has met with the legal representatives to convey his decision and determination on reasonable compensation,” said Vodacom spokesman Byron Kennedy.
“In the spirit of the confidentiality agreement both parties signed as part of the negotiating process, Vodacom will not disclose the amount set by the CEO.”
The rebuttal from Makate follows years of legal battles between him and Vodacom, which eventually ended up in the Constitutional Court.
The court ruled that Makate must be awarded reasonable compensation for his involvement in Vodacom launching its Please Call Me service, which was popular when SMS and voice calls were the primary methods of cellular communication.
Vodacom reportedly offered Makate R10 million in 2018, which he refused.
The ongoing negotiations between Vodacom and Makate have been under sustained legal and public pressure for years, with Vodacom being urged by members of the public to pay Makate following his court victory against the operator.
This included protestors hanging banners over bridges along the N1 freeway and in stadiums at soccer games demanding that Makate receive compensation.
Complicating matters is reported infighting between Makate and his legal teams.
A 2018 report stated that Makate does not want to share 50% of his compensation from Vodacom with the initial investors who paid his first R2 million in legal fees when the legal battle began.
The initial investors were cut out of the deal when their money dried up, and Makate employed new legal counsel in January 2015.
However, when it looked like Makate could win – in September 2015 – the initial investors showed interest in the case again and opened a dispute with Makate with an arbiter.