It’s a classic David vs Goliath story that South Africans love.
And the Twitter world has shown huge support for Kenneth Nkosana Makate’s and his victory against Vodacom After so many years, the cellphone giant has finally lost its case against the man who claimed he invested the ‘Please Call Me’ SMS product.
And the courts agree.
The Constitutional Court has ruled that Vodacom has a binding agreement with Makate and needs to compensate him. The court set aside the 2014 Johannesburg High Court order which dismissed Makate’s demand for payment.
What is remarkable is the timeline on this long drawn out legal case. Makate went to Vodacom with his invention in 2000.
The head of product development at the time, Phillip Geissler, agreed that Vodacom would experiment with the idea, and they came to a verbal agreement in 2001.
Even more terrible, keeping the verdict in mind, is the denial by former Vodacom CEO Alan Knott-Craig that Makate had any part in the invention of ‘Please Call Me’. He took all the credit for the idea in his biography.
The Constitutional Court ordered Vodacom to begin negotiatiating with Makate to determine a reasonable compensation payable to him in terms of the agreement, with negotiations needing to start within 30 days. It is certainly a victory for one man’s constitutional rights.
Makate has asked for 15% of profits made from the SMS product over all these years, but a ‘reasonable amount’ is to be determined during the negotiations.
The outcome of the Constitutional Court ruling has been trending on Twitter all day, with many jesting that Makate is the new ‘#blesser’