Makate agrees to reopen negotiations with Vodacom

Kenneth Nkosana Makate has accepted Vodacom’s invitation to return to the negotiating table to settle their 16-year legal fight over Please Call Me out of court.

This comes after Vodacom filed papers in the Constitutional Court this week contesting a Supreme Court ruling in favour of Makate.

In an announcement to the JSE news service on Wednesday, Vodacom invited Makate to negotiate a settlement.

“Vodacom remains open to constructive dialogue and good faith negotiations… without prejudice to its Constitutional Court Appeal process,” the company stated.

Vodacom said it is willing to agree on a fair and reasonable amount as compensation for Mr Makate’s idea that led to the development of the Please Call Me product.

“It is Vodacom’s desire that the matter be amicably resolved and brought to a timely conclusion.”

Responding to MyBroadband’s request for comment, Makate’s legal representatives at Stemela & Lubbe Inc. said he had accepted the invitation.

They also noted that this was the first time since 2017 that Vodacom indicated it wants the matter settled.

“Mr Makate has noticed the media release and the desire by Vodacom that the matter be amicably resolved,” Stemela & Lubbe stated.

The attorneys said Makate was not approached directly but accepted the invitation in a letter directed to Vodacom’s lawyers.

“He proposed a meeting with Vodacom’s representatives within the next couple of days for meaningful negotiations,” they said.

“It is noteworthy that this is the first time (since the negotiations ended in a deadlock in December 2017) that Vodacom has given any indication that it wants this matter to be settled.”

Stemela & Lubbe said that since they first challenged Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub’s compensation offer of R47 million, the company opposed every step to finalise the matter.

Asked how much they would settle for, the attorneys said it was premature to discuss any amounts.

“Let us first see if the negotiations materialise,” they said.

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Makate agrees to reopen negotiations with Vodacom