On Tuesday, 8 February, the inventor of the “Pease Call Me” (PCM) system, Nkosana Makate, received an incredible victory judgement as the Gauteng High Court issued generous “guidelines” for Vodacom to follow when calculating what is owed.
Judge issues clear guidelines for settlement payment
The giant mobile phone operator first offered to pay Makate R47 million as part of the settlement. However, after a Constitutional Court ruling, Makate rejected the offer and sought a court review.
Makate allegedly feels that he should get no less than R20 billion for his invention.
According to Judge Wendy Hughes, Vodacom’s CEO Shameel Joosub completely miscalculated in offering the R47 million.
The court gave Joosub one month to recalculate what should be owed to Makate – however, she will be issuing guidelines for these calculations.
Judge Hughes ruled that Makate is entitled to be paid 5% of the total voice revenue generated from the PCM product. This is starting from March 2001 until March 2021.
She further ordered that the total voice revenue should include PCM revenue derived from prepaid, contract (in and out of bundle), and interconnect fees as set out in Vodacom’s annual financial statements.
“The CEO was disingenuous to project that PCM, as a third-party service provider, should only be allocated a duration of five years,” the judge said. She pointed out that Joosub claimed that the R47 million calculation to which he had arrived, was “generous” as well as his conclusion that the invention had generated money for Vodacom over five years.
“The facts demonstrate otherwise. In my view, it is, therefore, projectable that PCM as a brilliant concept would have had the longevity that it has today. Thus, the eighteen years proposed by Makate (over which time Vodacom has benefitted from PCM) is reasonable and probable.”
The court also ruled that Makate is entitled to 27% of the revenue generated by the return of calls sent through the PCM platform.
Vodacom to appeal the judgement
The phone service company has indicated that they will be appealing the judgement and had previously stated that they believe the R57 million payout was “overly generous”.
“Vodacom remains of the view its negotiations with Mr Makate were held in good faith, as determined in the order of the Constitutional Court issued on 26 April 2016,” the company said on Tuesday, vowing to appeal the judgment.
Makate and Vodacom have been dealing with this case over payment for PCM since 2008. And according to Makate, the PCM system has earned the company about R70 billion in revenue.