Vo­da­com deal nixed by Makate

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - BUSINESS - Money­web

Ray Mahlaka

“Please Call Me” in­ven­tor Nkosana Makate said he hasn’t reached an agree­ment with Vo­da­com over com­pen­sa­tion, over two years after the Con­sti­tu­tional Court or­dered that he must be paid.

“… I have not agreed on any­thing with Vo­da­com. The amount that the Group CEO [Shameel Joosub] has de­ter­mined is shock­ing and an in­sult,” Makate told Money­web.

Makate was re­act­ing to Vo­da­com’s state­ment on Satur­day that Joosub had de­cided on a “rea­son­able com­pen­sa­tion” amount after both par­ties held the lat­est round of oral hear­ings in Oc­to­ber 2018.

Vo­da­com spokesper­son By­ron Kennedy said Joosub had met with Makate’s le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tives to con­vey “his de­ci­sion and de­ter­mi­na­tion” on com­pen­sa­tion and that Makate’s funds “will be trans­ferred as soon as we have the bank­ing ac­count de­tails... Vo­da­com con­sid­ers the mat­ter as fi­nally set­tled and closed.” The amount wasn’t dis­closed. Makate said he’s cur­rently be­ing ad­vised by his le­gal team on reme­dies avail­able.

Talks be­tween Vo­da­com and Makate have stalled since the court or­dered on April 26, 2016, that both par­ties en­ter into good­faith ne­go­ti­a­tions to de­ter­mine rea­son­able com­pen­sa­tion for the in­ven­tion. “Please Call Me” is a free ser­vice, en­abling a user with­out air­time to send a text to be called back.

The court or­der also en­abled Joosub to ar­bi­trate ne­go­ti­a­tions, should a dead­lock on com­pen­sa­tion ma­te­ri­alise.

Talks be­gan to dead­lock in De­cem­ber 2017, paving the way for Joosub to as­sume his dead­lock-break­ing role.

In the­ory, the mat­ter is set­tled, as Vo­da­com and Makate have com­plied with the court’s or­der of en­ter­ing com­pen­sa­tion ne­go­ti­a­tions. But the ac­tual com­pen­sa­tion process is still pend­ing.

In com­plaints filed to the In­de­pen­dent Reg­u­la­tory Board for Au­di­tors and Com­pa­nies and In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty Com­mis­sion in April 2018 against Vo­da­com and PwC for mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of an­nual fi­nan­cial state­ments, Makate said Vo­da­com of­fered him R10 mil­lion com­pen­sa­tion.

This is be­lieved to be lower than Makate’s le­gal fees for the pro­tracted bat­tle.

Makate’s le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tives and an ex­pert team be­lieve his com­pen­sa­tion runs into bil­lions of rands. In one court af­fi­davit, Makate’s team con­cluded in 2015 that the in­ven­tion gen­er­ated R70 bil­lion in rev­enue for Vo­da­com.

Makate said he’s en­ti­tled to 15% of the rev­enue.

Pic­ture: Bloomberg

HANG UP. Talks be­tween Vo­da­com and ‘Please Call Me’ in­ven­tor Nkosana Makate have stalled. On April 26, 2016, a court or­dered that both par­ties en­ter into ne­go­ti­a­tions to de­ter­mine com­pen­sa­tion.

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