by Beatrice Ambasa
May 11, 2021

A court in South Africa is set to deliberate on a case involving the telecommunications giant Vodacom and the "Please call me" inventor Nkosana Makate. 

The 44-year-old, who came up with the idea that allows prepaid phone users to send a free text asking to be phoned back if the other party is offline, demands KSh 75 billion compensation from the company.

Previously, Makate had demanded KSh 45 billion in compensation for the use of the free messaging service.

According to the country's press, Makate, an employee of the cellular company, shared the idea with his bosses but never received any payment. He then proceeded to court, where he has been battling with the company for 20 years now.

The court will rule whether the KSh 354 million paid to Makate by the mobile company was enough after declining the amount, saying it was too little. 

In their defence, the company argued that the messaging service had not generated any revenue for it since subscribers were not charged for the service. 

However, Makate, in 2019, said since the service was launched, it had generated up to KSh 1.5 trillion for the company. 

Vodacom chief executive Shameel Joosub later offered him KSh 354 million, which he declined. 

It is not yet clear if the ruling which is set to be issued by the Gauteng High Court will also affect Kenya's mobile giant Safaricom, which also uses the "Please call me" messaging service.