Kenneth Nkosana Makate, the man who has been fighting Vodacom in court over the Please Call Me idea, says he wants to travel to India and meditate once his legal battles end.
He also told the City Press that he plans to invest the billions he would receive back into his community — particularly focusing on early childhood development.
He wants to give these children the tech skills they need to thrive in the modern, global workplace.
“If I can get that right for just a few children, I’ll die a happy man,” he said.
Makate says that this battle has not been about his own legacy.
“It’s not that I want to be remembered as the inventor of Please Call Me. It’s only important to me that the record’s set straight,” said Makate.
“Through this trial, the South African legal system has been changed for the better in numerous ways. Every court ruling so far has been brought about by my blood, sweat, tears and persistence.”
“From now on, other South Africans will use the judiciary in their own court battles,” he added.
Makate’s latest statements follow the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) essentially dismissing an appeal by Vodacom and ruling in favour of Makate.
The SCA determined that Vodacom must pay Makate between 5% and 7.5% of the total voice revenue its Please Call Me product generated over 18 years, plus interest.
Based on the wording in the ruling, the 18 years was determined from March 2001 to 9 January 2019 — the date Vodacom first offered to compensate Makate for his idea to the tune of R47 million.
Using the revenue numbers Makate’s legal team estimated in 2019, this could work out to approximately R20 billion — instantly making him one of South Africa’s richest citizens.
For context, this is approximately double what Vodacom invests in its South African network annually, more than the entire Vodacom group’s annual net profit and over 10% of its market capitalisation.
“Vodacom is surprised and disappointed with the judgment and will bring an application for leave to appeal before the Constitutional Court of South Africa,” the company said in a statement following the ruling.