The South African Man Who Invented ‘Please Call Me’ set to Make Millions From Vodacom

The South African Man Who Invented ‘Please Call Me’ set to Make Millions From Vodacom

  • Man who invented the "Please Call Me" feature for telephone companies is due to make millions if things go as planned
  • Nkosana Makate who invented the feature for Vodacom in 2008 took the telecoms company to court for not keeping to agreements
  • Makate said he wants to keep fighting as long as it takes until he gets his due and also teach his children the value of justice and fairness

Over two decades ago, Nkosana Makate was working as a trainee in Vodacom’s finance department while his girlfriend, Rebecca who is now his wife studied at Fort Hare University. They were in a long-distance relationship.

According to Makate, there were times she would want to call him but didn’t have airtime to do so.

Nkosana Makate, 'inventor' of 'Please Call Me'
Nkosana Makate, 'inventor' of 'Please Call Me'
Source: UGC

He said he thought about ways to initiate a call even when there is no airtime. That is how the idea came about, Makate told the BBC.

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The beginning of a long-drawn battle

He entered into an oral agreement with Vodacom’s then managing director of product development and management, Philip Geissler, that he would have a share of the revenue made by the product once it goes to the market.

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The company praised Makate’s invention in an internal newsletter.

There was a change at some point and it's not clear why.

Makate said suddenly he was told he is becoming too greedy for wanting a share of the profits of what he created.

He sued Vodacom in 2008 instead of accepting the situation.

His leal team evaluate that Vodacom made at least $4.7 billion from the Please Call Me invention and Makate has not seen a kobo of those profits. He has been asking for 15 per of the $4.7 billion.

At first, Vodacom denied that their former staff had invented the idea and later turned around to say he was not due any monetary benefits from the invention.

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The case has gone through many courts.

A breather at last

Finally, in 2016, it was taken to the highest court in South Africa and the court ruled in Makate’s favour and asked the two parties to negotiate payment.

The company offered a payout of $3.1 million, saying it was too generous, but Makate said no.

According to Makate, it is about doing the right thing and justice. He said he wants to teach his children to fight for equity and justice.

Earlier this month, High Court judge Wendy Hughes said that Vodacom had gone against the Constitutional Court ruling and negotiated in bad faith.

Judge Hughes also said he was entitled to a much bigger share of the revenue, which could run into the tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars.

Makate this is just another stage in a drawn-out legal battle that, he believes, has been designed to "outlast him" and force him to give up his claim.

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Man sues former boss who paid him N379k in grease-stained coins has reported that A petty boss who paid his former staff in a bad coin after he owed him for several months has been sued.

The man from Georgia said his former boss owed him about N379, 725 but decided to deliver it in an unusual manner last year.

Andreas Flaten said he was awed by the action of his ex-employer when he saw about 90,000 oil-stained coins in a wheelbarrow on his driveway said to be the money he was being owed by the owner of the auto repair shop he worked.


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