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"Vodacom's Ongoing "Please Call Me" Legal Saga Deepens Following Court Defeat"

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

Mobile service provider, Vodacom, found itself in a tight spot as the Pretoria high court rejected its application for a variation in its ongoing legal squabble with the inventor of “Please Call Me”, Nkosana Makate. This comes as a further setback for Vodacom within the prolonging legal war, following an unsuccessful attempt to modify an earlier 2020 court directive compelling the company to provide Makate with copies of certain contracts.

Stemming from a mandate by the Pretoria high court in favor of Makate, Vodacom was aimed at divulging records and details of contracts related to income-generation initiatives with numerous service suppliers. The court had pronounced a deadline of 21 days for Vodacom to equip Makate with these documents, which covered value-added service agreements the company has made with various other providers.

Jody Kollapen, the Constitutional Court justice who was present at the Pretoria court during this time, decreed that alongside copies of the contracts, parts of a KPMG report dated November 3, 2008, should be provided to Makate. This was on the condition of a confidentiality regime ensuring that the report is not exposed to third parties.

Vodacom’s plea for this order to be rephrased was essentially to avoid being held in contempt of court, due to their assertion of not possessing all the pertaining contracts. Moreover, the company had filed an appeal application if the court rejected its variation request. To Vodacom’s disappointment, their plea was also rejected on Friday.

With court costs added to their ongoing plight, Vodacom now awaits the verdict of the main legal battle from the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein. This is an appeal against the February 2022 ruling from the high court judge, Wendy Hughes, mandating Vodacom a one-month deadline to re-evaluate payment conditions to Makate, following his disapproval of a R47m compensation offer made in 2019.

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