Activists from the Vodacom Shutdown Movement are demanding a bigger payout from Vodacom to former employee Nkosana Makate for allegedly inventing the Please Call Me service while employed by the company in 2000.
Protesters are expected to gather outside the Vodacom headquarters in Johannesburg on Thursday.
Vodacom has offered to pay an undisclosed settlement amount after a constitutional ruling in 2016; however Makate has rejected the offer and maintains that he should receive 15% of the revenues generated by the Please Call Me product saying this was the original agreement he had with Vodacom verbally.
A disagreement over who actually invented the Please Call Me service is believed to be behind the dispute.
Africa Analysis Analyst Dobek Poter explains, “Vodacom is not necessarily in the wrong and I think there’s been more and more information coming to the fore that Mr Makate didn’t invent the Please Call Me product. He may have suggested the idea to Vodacom but MTN was actually the original, or specifically a contractor by the name of Mr Ari Khan invented it while working at MTN and he claims to have a patent that he is ready to show in the patents office. Mr Makate hasn’t come up with a patent to date which probably means that he hasn’t invented it and has no patent it himself.”
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Meanwhile, Partner at Hahn & Hahn Attorneys, Jaco Hamman says the courts have ordered that Vodacom needs to commence negotiations in good faith with Makate.
Listen to Hamman below: