The legal battle between Kenneth Makate and Vodacom over compensation for his Please Call Me idea has taken another turn with Makate demanding far more money from Vodacom.
The Sunday Times reported that Makate approached the North Gauteng High Court to challenge the R47 million (previously reported to be R49 million) which Vodacom offered him for the idea.
This amount was determined by Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub, who Makate argues acted “irregularly, unreasonably, irrationally, unfairly, unjustly and inequitably”.
Vodacom said, as per a Constitutional Court order, its CEO has determined the amount of reasonable compensation payable to Makate and considered the matter as settled and closed.
Makate wants R10.25 billion from Vodacom
Makate said while he appreciates that R47 million for an idea sounds like a lot of money, it is nothing compared to how much Vodacom made from Please Call Me.
He said calculations by his team estimate that Please Call Me earned Vodacom R205 billion from 2001.
Makate wants 5% of the total revenue which Vodacom generated from Please Call Me, with interest, from March 2001.
Based on his calculations this equates to a minimum of R10.25 billion which will make him one of the richest people in South Africa.
Most Vodacom has ever paid for the idea
Vodacom’s R47 million offer (or R49 according to previous reports) to Makate is much higher than any previous offer for an idea from the company.
Vodacom has previously revealed that R500,000 is the highest amount it has ever paid for an idea that helped the company.
Vodacom runs an Ideation programme to encourage employees to come up with ideas to help the company, with an annual prize pot of up to R1 million, after tax.
The exact allocation per winner and runners-up can vary, but first place winners have previously received R500,000, after tax, on a number of occasions.
South African rich list
Should Makate’s demands be met he will immediately become one of the richest people in South Africa.
With R10.25 billion in the bank Makate will overtake some of South Africa’s most successful business people, some of who have built their wealth over decades.
According to BusinessTech’s latest rich list, Makate will overtake well-known entrepreneurs like Mark Shuttleworth, FirstRand founder Laurie Dippenaar and Pick ‘n Pay’s Raymond Ackerman.
He will also overtake Discovery founder Adrian Gore and have more money than South African president and businessman Cyril Ramaphosa.
Considering that Makate only came up with an idea, which was already implemented at MTN at the time, his compensation demands may be seen as exorbitant by some people.