'Just shut up': minister tears into Vodacom - TechCentral

‘Just shut up’: minister tears into Vodacom

Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams

Communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has slammed Vodacom on social media, telling it to “just shut up” and “do the right thing” around the “please call me” settlement with its former employee, Nkosana Makate.

The minister took to Twitter on Monday morning to lay into the mobile operator’s “settlement” with Nkosana, who claims he invented the “please call me” service, which allows Vodacom customers to send a free text message requesting a call back from another party.

“Just shut up Vodacom and do the right thing,” Ndabeni-Abrahams tweeted. “’Talk to Makate’ instead of this poor PR stunt. Don’t talk to us until you have reached a settlement with him and his team.”

The minister’s tweet was in response to a Vodacom reply on Twitter to a tweet from Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi. Lesufi tweeted on Saturday: “We need to stand by Nkosana ‘Please Call Me’ against this bully called @Vodacom.”

Lesufi continued: “Pay him by month end or face the wrath of the nation. How dare you even disrespect court decisions #VodaPayHim.”

Vodacom’s official Twitter account then replied to Lesufi: “A decision on reasonable compensation payable to Mr Makate, based on the Con Court Order, was recently made by Vodacom Group CEO. This decision has been communicated to Mr Makate and his attorneys. Claims that Vodacom is disrespecting decision of courts is false & ill-informed.”

This response then prompted Ndabeni-Abrahams’ angry reply.

On Saturday, TechCentral reported that Nkosana had rejected a settlement tabled by Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub, describing the amount offered by the operator as “shocking and an insult”.

Posting on his Facebook page after Vodacom revealed on Friday evening that it had settled the dispute by agreeing to “reasonable compensation”, Nkosana Makate said: “I would like to make it very clear that I have not agreed anything with Vodacom. The amount that the CEO has determined is shocking and an insult.”

Makate continued: “I am currently being advised by my legal team on remedies available to me. Moreover, Vodacom has not apologised for their despicable conduct for the past 18 years as found by the constitutional court.”

Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub

After a lengthy and costly legal battle, the constitutional court found that Makate had invented the service while in the employ of Vodacom and directed the company’s CEO — currently Joosub — to determine an amount of “reasonable compensation” that should be paid to Makate should the parties be unable to reach an agreement.

Vodacom said that Joosub received oral and written representations from both parties after the negotiations deadlocked, with oral hearing taking place in early October 2018.

“The group CEO has met with the legal representatives of Mr Makate and Vodacom to convey his decision and determination. In the spirit of the confidentiality agreement both parties signed as part of the negotiating process, Vodacom will not disclose the amount set by the group CEO, as reasonable compensation. Vodacom considers the matter as finally settled and closed,” Vodacom said.

It added that the compensation amount determined by Joosub will be transferred to Makate “as soon as we have the banking account details”.  — (c) 2019 NewsCentral Media