'Please Call Me' David and Goliath 15 year battle captures the nation
It's a classic David vs Goliath story that South Africans love.
And the twittersphere has been showing huge support for Kenneth Nkosana Makate's victory against Vodacom
After so many years, the cellphone giant has finally lost its case against the man who claimed he invested the 'Please Call Me' SMS product.
And the courts agree.
The Constitutional Court has ruled that Vodacom has a binding agreement with Makate and needs to compensate him.
The court set aside the 2014 Johannesburg High Court order which dismissed Makate’s demand for payment.
#PleaseCAllMe JUST IN: Makate wins the case. Vodacom has to reach an agreement with Makate on the amount of compensation owed to him. ML— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) April 26, 2016
What is remarkable is the timeline on this long drawn out legal case.
Makate went to Vodacom with his invention in 2000.
The head of product development at the time, Phillip Geissler, agreed that Vodacom would experiment with the idea, and they came to a verbal agreement in 2001.
#PleaseCallMe It has been a 15 year long journey for justice for Makate. He invented the "Please Call Me" in 2000. ML— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) April 26, 2016
Even more shocking, given the verdict, is the denial by former Vodacom CEO Alan Knott-Craig that Makate had any part in the invention of 'Please Call Me'. He even wrote about it in his autobiography, taking all the credit for the idea.
The Constitutional Court ordered Vodacom to begin negotiations with Makate to determine a reasonable compensation payable to him in terms of the agreement, with negotiations needing to start within 30 days.
It is certainly a victory for one man's constitutional rights.
Makate has asked for 15% of profits made from the SMS product over all these years, but a 'reasonable amount' is to be determined during the negotiations.
The outcome of the ConCourt ruling has been trending on Twitter all day, with many jesting that Makate is the new '#blesser'