Vodacom “lacks most of the records required to determine how much it owes Nkosana Makate” – the “inventor” of the Please Call Me service – according to court papers.
According to a report by the Sunday Times, Vodacom’s recently-filed Constitutional Court papers stated that documentation needed to calculate compensation for Makate did not exist.
Vodacom’s court papers were filed in response to a submission to the court by Makate in November, following a breakdown in negotiations between the two parties.
In 2016, the Constitutional Court ordered Vodacom to engage in negotiations with Makate to compensate him for his Please Call Me idea which Vodacom implemented in 2001.
Nkateko Nyoka, Vodacom’s chief legal and regulatory officer, said negotiations had broken down in September and “Makate had unilaterally terminated talks”.
Nyoka said their chief financial officer and a “German expert” on staff compensation were part of the negotiations.
As part of the negotiations, documents on how much revenue the Please Call Me service generated were requested.
“Vodacom faced considerable difficulties in providing the information – since the product was never treated in its income statement as a revenue-generating product,” stated the report.
“Mr Makate appeared to accept this and agreed to continue with negotiations in the absence of the information that he had sought,” stated Nyoka.
Makate will now be required to file court papers in response to Vodacom’s submission.
The full report is in the Sunday Times of 29 January 2017.