Gauteng businessman John Khaba is demanding five cents of every R1 of pretax profit earned by Vodacom from its Airtime Advance product.
News of Khaba’s legal action was recently reported by the Sowetan, after which Vodacom confirmed the matter against it.
Khaba claims that Vodacom “misappropriated” his Airtime Advance idea – a product the company launched in 2011.
Airtime Advance lets customers buy R5 or R10 airtime on credit, and then pay an additional R1 for the advanced airtime the next time they recharge.
“If the customer owing R10 recharges with R12, R11 will be deducted and R1 will be loaded in the customer’s account,” stated Vodacom.
Khaba reportedly approached Vodacom with the product idea a year before it launched.
Tens of millions owed
Khaba’s lawyer Pumzo Mbana said his client’s claim against Vodacom may be worth “tens of millions”, and that they were confident in their case.
The matter has been filed at the South Gauteng High Court.
Mbana said Vodacom has lodged a technical objection to their case, which will be heard by the court on 18 April.
Vodacom confirmed that Ndabenhle Business Enterprises, Khaba’s company, had initiated the High Court action against it.
“Vodacom is defending this action and is seeking a dismissal of the case on the ground that the plaintiff’s particulars of claim do not disclose a cause of action. The claim is not supported by facts,” said Vodacom.