"Please Call Me" inventor Nkosana Makate takes Vodacom to court after rejecting R47mil offer

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The battle between “Please Call Me” inventor Nkosana Makate and Vodacom has taken another twist after he approached the court to force CEO Shameel Joosub to disclose the company’s financial records.

Makate filed court papers in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria yesterday where he asked the court to issue an order forcing Joosub to disclose all documentation he relied on when offering him a R47m compensation in January for his idea. Makate rejected the offer, insisting the cellphone giant owed him at least R20bn.

He is now asking the court to compel Joosub and Vodacom, both listed as first and second respondents respectively, to provide him with documents they used to conclude on his compensation.

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”There are three independent bases for the demand for the relevant information. I have been advised and respectfully submit that each basis which I rely [on], serves to support a range of principles which are regarded as integral part of the demands of fairness in litigation and the capacity of our courts to dispense justice,” Makate said in his affidavit.

The documents Makate is seeking include extracts of a report by audit firm KPMG, which was compiled after Vodacom shareholders had requested an investigation “due to two whistle-blowers disclosing various serious poor governance and intellectual property issues at Vodacom”.

Makate also demands “underlying data, information, sensitivity analysis and disclosure analysis of the financial statements in 2016 and 2017”.

Makate also listed a summary of revenue and customer numbers from Vodacom’s annual reports of between 1997 and 2006, as one of thea documents he wanted access to. He said his lawyers had requested all these documents to no avail.

“No legitimate basis for the refusal of this information has been furnished,” stated Makate in his affidavit, which is part of his 21-page court papers. Makate believes he deserved R20bn, which he said reflected a 5% share of an estimated R205bn revenue generated from the Please Call Me service, including interest calculated over an 18-year period.

Approached for comment yesterday, Makate said: “We are getting to the nuts and bolts of how flawed the determination of the CEO is, and the fact that he’s denying us access to the documents shows how indefensible his determination is.”

In August, Makate launched a review application of the R47m compensation final offer made by Vocadom following protracted negotiations with the company.

Makate added: “This is the information I need to get before the review could start as it could impact the review. The documents are at the heart of the CEO’s determination which we need access to.”

Vodacom spokesperson Byron Kennedy had not responded to Sowetan inquiries by the time of publication.

-Sowetan


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