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Vodacom's 'Please Call Me' Conduct is Morally Reprehensible and Legally Indefensible


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Public Interest SA Condemns Vodacom's Callous Corporate Conduct


Johannesburg, South Africa - February 6, 2024 - Public Interest SA expresses profound dismay at Vodacom's unyielding and egregious behaviour in the face of the Supreme Court of Appeal's recent ruling regarding the compensation owed to Nkosana Makate, the inventor of the 'Please Call Me' service.


The Supreme Court of Appeal has unequivocally ordered Vodacom to reassess its compensation offer to Makate, acknowledging his entitlement to a fair share of the revenue generated by the 'Please Call Me' service over 18 years. Despite this clear directive, Vodacom persists in displaying the worst form of corporate obstinacy, demonstrating a blatant disregard for ethical citizenship and sound corporate governance.


The SCA's ruling not only dismissed Vodacom's futile attempt to appeal a prior High Court ruling but also admonished the company for its arbitrary determination of compensation, highlighting the CEO's inadequate offer of a paltry R47 million. The court rightfully underscored the incomprehensible oversight in capping the contractual term at five years, while the 'Please Call Me' service continued to generate substantial revenue for far longer.


Public Interest SA denounces Vodacom's reprehensible conduct, which reeks of corporate bullying and exploitation of our legal system and the vulnerable. This unconscionable behaviour is particularly egregious in light of the recent release of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report, which paints a grim picture of entrepreneurship support in South Africa. Vodacom's actions, particularly its unprecedented greed, epitomise the antithesis of ethical business practices and constitute a gross injustice inflicted upon Makate whose commercial and intellectual property rights have been trampled upon by the seemingly morally-bereft telecoms behemoth over the past two decades.


"Vodacom's continued actions are morally reprehensible and legally indefensible. Its latest legal manoeuvres can best be described as a desperate attempt to evade accountability, akin to throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping something sticks.We call on Vodacom to immediately comply with the SCA's ruling and negotiate in good faith to determine a fair and just compensation for Makate. Furthermore, we urge the apex court to dismiss any appeal by Vodacom on its Stalingrad-style vexatious litigation and to consider imposing punitive, personal costs on Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub for his role in perpetuating this travesty of justice," opines Public Interest SA chairman, Tebogo Khaas.


Public Interest SA remains steadfast in its commitment to advocating for fairness, transparency, and ethical conduct in corporate affairs. We stand in solidarity with Nkosana Makate and will continue to pursue accountability for those who flout the principles of justice and equity.


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About Public Interest SA

Public Interest SA is a leading advocate for ethical citizenship, social justice, and corporate accountability in South Africa. We are committed to promoting fairness, transparency, and integrity in all aspects of public and private life, ensuring that the interests of the public are upheld and protected.

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