The protracted legal battle involving Vodacom and its former employee, Kenneth Makate, over the ‘Please Call Me’ service, has entered a new phase. Vodacom, the telecommunications behemoth, has announced its intention to challenge the Supreme Court of Appeal’s (SCA) decision that mandates the company to compensate Makate with a staggering R20 billion.
In a recent statement, Vodacom expressed its dismay and intention to contest the SCA’s verdict. The company stated,
“Vodacom is surprised and disappointed with the judgment and will bring an application for leave to appeal before the Constitutional Court of South Africa, within the prescribed period.”
This development follows the SCA’s dismissal of Vodacom’s previous appeal, siding instead with Makate. The SCA’s deliberations considered the long-term agreement between Makate and Vodacom, highlighting the importance of the contract’s duration.
The SCA critiqued the initial handling of the contract extension with Makate, describing it as
“an eminently un-businesslike and an unreasonable decision by the CEO not to have extended the contract it made with Makate.”
Furthermore, the court deemed the valuation previously offered to Makate as flawed and inequitable.
Vodacom’s initial compensation offer to Makate was R47 million, a sum promptly rejected by Makate’s legal representatives. The dispute escalated through various legal avenues, culminating in the SCA’s directive that Vodacom must employ the financial models provided by Makate’s team to ascertain the owed amount.
According to calculations by Makate’s team, a 5% share of the estimated R205 billion revenue generated over 18 years amounts to the R20 billion figure set by the SCA.
This latest twist in the ‘Please Call Me’ saga not only highlights the complexities inherent in corporate compensation disputes but also underscores the potential for significant financial implications for Vodacom, should the Constitutional Court uphold the SCA’s ruling. The journey of this case through the South African legal system continues to underscore the importance of fair valuation and contractual fidelity in the corporate world.