Vodacom says it would have to close shop if it paid Makate R70 billion

Vodacom says that it will not pay anywhere near the R70 billion that the ‘Please Call Me Movement’ claims is owed to Kenneth Makate for his Please Call Me idea – almost a third of the company’s market cap.

Speaking on eNCA on Thursday, and as reported by the African News Agency, head of legal and regulatory affairs at Vodacom, Nkateko Nyoka said that Vodacom group CEO, Shameel Joosub had determined an amount to be paid to Makate, which is “final and binding”.

“We certainly not going to go anywhere near R70 billion. Mr Makate’s claim is against Vodacom South Africa and the service revenue of Vodacom South Africa is about R54 billion. If we were to pay R70 billion, it means Vodacom South Africa must close shop tomorrow,” Nyoka said.

“We are willing and ready to pay Mr Makate the amount of compensation that has been determined by the Vodacom group CEO as reasonable and fair compensation. Mr Makate is taking the group CEO’s decision on judicial review, if that is the case we will participate in the process and make our caps before the judiciary.”

Vodacom employs 7,554 people, and reported annual revenue for 2018 of R70 billion for its South Africa operation, and R86.37 billion in total revenue.

MyBroadband reported that Makate’s legal team has served Vodacom with correspondence stating that he is taking Vodacom’s  R49-million offer “on judicial review”.

The constitutional court ordered Vodacom in 2016 to “commence negotiations in good faith with Kenneth Nkosana Makate for determining a reasonable compensation” for his involvement in the Please Call Me service.

The court further ordered Vodacom’s CEO to determine a “reasonable compensation payable to him” in the event that negotiations between the parties failed.

Vodacom argues that it has followed the Constitutional Court order and that it now considers the matter as settled and closed.

Makate, however, does not share this view and described the Vodacom CEO’s offer as “shocking and an insult”.

Read: Please Call Me ‘inventor’ turned down R49 million Vodacom offer

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Vodacom says it would have to close shop if it paid Makate R70 billion