Ex-Vodacom employee drops Please Call Me bombshells

Court papers filed by a former Vodacom employee claim that Vodacom should easily be able to calculate the revenue it earned from the Please Call Me service.

Vodacom previously claimed it did not possess historical data older than six months that could be used to calculate how much it made from the service, but this has been disputed by former employee Teboho Motaung.

Motaung, who was a senior accountant at Vodacom when alleged Please Call Me inventor Nkosana Makate worked there, said Vodacom was not being truthful when it claimed it did not know how much revenue has been generated through the Please Call Me product.

“Insofar as it is reflected in Mr Makate’s statement that Vodacom is disputing the availability of data older than 6 months, I find it quite absurd,” said Motaung in an affidavit.

“It was part of my duties to obtain PCM [Please Call Me] data from Vodacom systems which would then be incorporated in spreadsheets.”

Motaung said that while the spreadsheets were too comprehensive to attach to his affidavit, he could provide these spreadsheets if the court specifically requested it.

“It clearly shows that Vodacom tracked and maintained records of the number of PCM requests sent out.”

Motaung therefore claimed that it should be a “quite simple exercise” for Vodacom to make an informed estimate of the revenue earned by the product.

Motaung added that when the case was placed before the Constitutional Court, there was “a flurry of activity at Vodacom involving a number of its finance personnel who were tasked to examine and calculate the revenue streams earned by Please Call Me”.

He said that these finance staff were required staff to go back “as far as possible” with this investigation, which went on for a period of two to three weeks.

Vodacom allegedly invoiced Makate billions

Motaung also claimed to have found invoices totalling billions of rand which were described as purchase order items. Under their descriptions, the following reference appeared:

“Leslie Cohen bulk PO Kenneth Makate”

Motaung said that “the invoice is raised by Leslie Cohen Associates Trust account to its customer, Vodacom Ltd, for the Makate matter.”

“It is clear, just from the magnitude of totals represented on the series of invoices that these are not invoices for legal services rendered,” said Motaung.

“In fact, the normal fees of the lawyers were raised through different invoices from the ones dedicated to the Makate/Vodacom matter.”

Makate and Vodacom respond

“Mr Makate is repeating his grounds of review in the supplementary affidavit, being that the CEO of Vodacom acted irrationally when he determined that Vodacom should only pay Mr Makate R47 million,” said Makate’s legal representative.

The representative said that these grounds of review are the following:

  • The CEO should have considered the duration of the contract in view of the duration of other similar VAS contracts and the fact that the PCM product is still running. The CEO only allowed for 5 years.
  • The CEO failed to add interest on the amount, which has been claimed all along.
  • The CEO disregarded the fact that Vodacom has been refusing to provide full disclosure of the revenue earned from PCM of which Mr Makate is entitled to receive a percentage.
  • The CEO disregarded evidence that Vodacom had already made calculations, which Vodacom and its attorney deny.
  • The CEO used the incorrect voice revenue figures ( which Vodacom provided to him ) in making his determination.

Vodacom provided the following statement in response to queries from MyBroadband:

Vodacom is studying Mr. Makate’s supplementary affidavit, which it has just received, in his application seeking to have reviewed and set aside Mr. Shameel Joosub’s determination which set the amount of compensation payable to Mr. Makate at R47 million.

Mr Makate’s review application appears to be premature, as the North Gauteng High Court still has to rule on Vodacom’s application for the variation of its Order that sought to grant Mr Makate access to certain documentation which are not in Vodacom’s possession.

Our position on the matter is consistent in that we have repeatedly stated our willingness to pay Mr Makate a substantial amount. Vodacom still holds the view that it entered into negotiations and negotiated with Mr Makate and his team in good faith, in accordance with the Order of the Constitutional Court.

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Ex-Vodacom employee drops Please Call Me bombshells