Vodacom said on Tuesday that it had won a long-running court battle with former employee Nkosana Makate over the operator’s “please call me” service, which Makate claimed he invented.
“Please call me” is a free SMS service that allows consumers to ask other people to call them when they can’t afford or don’t have airtime available to make the call themselves.
The case was dismissed by the high court in Johannesburg with costs, said Vodacom spokesman Richard Boorman. “At the moment, we can say that we’re pleased to hear the verdict and will study the judgment before commenting further,” he said.
Makate claimed to have invented the concept of “please call me”. Although the service was introduced 14 years ago, Makate and Vodacom have been in a profit share dispute.
Makate’s lawyer previously told the court that the estimated amount owed to him was R650m.
Makate was a 23-year-old junior accountant when he allegedly pitched the concept to product development manager Phillip Geissler in 2001.
He claimed Geissler promised him a share in the profits generated by the concept but Vodacom refused to pay him, saying Geissler had no authority to reach a payment agreement with him. — © 2014 NewsCentral Media, with Sapa