Vodacom Drags the Ongoing ‘Please Call Me’ Dispute to SA’s ConCourt

Vodacom drags the ongoing ‘Please Call Me’ dispute to SA’s ConCourt. The company has reportedly filed an appeal with the Constitutional Court, requesting permission to challenge the ruling rendered earlier this month by the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa (SCA).

Vodacom Drags the Ongoing Please Call Me Dispute to SA's ConCourt

Vodacom Drags the Ongoing ‘Please Call Me’ Dispute to SA’s ConCourt

Vodacom was ordered by the SCA to pay 5% to 7.5% of the entire revenue earned from the telecoms model over 18 years, from 2001 to 2019, plus interest, to Nkosana Makate, who is recognized as the originator of the “Please Call Me” concept.

The company initially told shareholders at the time that it planned to appeal the ruling, and the telco has now stated that it has turned to the Constitutional Court.

It stated: “Vodacom respects the legal system and complies with South African laws as a responsible business citizen. Vodacom believes that the SCA ruling and order are essentially faulty and that there are significant components of this case that are not in line with the letter or spirit of the law.

According to the corporation, “many of the issues between the parties and their evidence and submissions relating to those issues were overlooked or ignored by the majority judgment, as is evident from the dissenting judgment of the SCA.”

SCA Decides to Selectively Consider Only the Material Provided by Makate

Vodacom offers several arguments in its request for permission to appeal to the Constitutional Court, among them being that: by examining and rendering judgments on matters that neither Vodacom nor Makate had brought to its attention for resolution, the SCA misleads itself.

The SCA decides to selectively consider only the material provided by Makate, such as in the instance of models used to determine the compensation that Makate is entitled to, ignoring vast amounts of evidence that Vodacom has provided that contradicts Makate’s narrative. The SCA orders are unclear, incoherent, and unworkable, which makes it impossible to execute and enforce them.

Vodacom further claimed that the SCA’s order violates section 1 of the Republic of South Africa’s 1996 Constitution, which upholds the Rule of Law, and denies Vodacom its right to a fair trial under section 34 of the same document.

Vodacom Claims that ‘It Has Already Discussed a Fair Settlement with Makate’

The largest telco in South Africa in terms of subscribers claimed that should the SCA Judgment be sustained, it would have a significant and wide-ranging effect on Vodacom South Africa and Vodacom Group, as well as the country’s appeal as an investment destination.

It would have a detrimental effect on our shareholders, staff, and Vodacom’s financial contribution to the government. The business stated that it will also affect its social programs, coverage, and network investment.

Vodacom claims that it has already discussed a fair settlement with Makate to reach an agreement. Unfortunately, these attempts have not been successful thus far. “Vodacom desires that the matter be brought to a timely and amicable resolution,” the statement continued.

Report Shows that Makate Has Continuously Maintained that Vodacom Owes Him $542 million

Except for accrued interest and all court costs since the 2016 ruling by the Constitutional Court, Makate has continuously maintained that Vodacom owes him $542 million (R10.2 billion). The Constitutional Court at the time mandated that the parties negotiate in good faith to agree on a fair settlement.

Makate has demanded that Vodacom disclose all revenue produced by the Please Call Me concept, claiming that his dealings with the telco operator “have been anything but fair” for years. According to calculations made by Makate’s legal team, Vodacom received $10.8 billion (R205 billion) in call income from “Please Call Me” between 2001 and 2020.

Nevertheless, this amount does not include advertising money that is a part of the telco revenue model.



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