Bun fight over ‘Please Call Me’ inventor’s payout

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The inventor of Vodacom’s ‘Please Call Me’ service has cancelled an agreement with a group which funded his legal battle against the mobile operator, according to a report by BDLive.

Christiaan Schoeman, one of Nkosana Makate’s financial backers, made the claim after the High Court in Pretoria ruled that 50% of Makate’s payout be kept in a trust of his attorneys’ account.

Schoeman filed an application to interdict Makate’s lawyers from representing him in payout negotiations with Vodacom that were ordered by the Constitutional Court.

The Constitutional Court ordered Vodacom to hold negotiations with Makate following an eight-year legal battle over the claim that he invented the company’s Please Call Me service.

Schoeman said his company, Raining Men, paid Makate’s legal fees when he took Vodacom to court.

Makate said Schoeman only paid R2.4 million for his legal fees, and agreed to a reduced 53% cut of any settlement from Vodacom – but Schoeman did not deliver on his promises.

Makate said he cancelled his agreement with Schoeman in January 2015.

“Mr Makate’s legal fees were funded by myself and other funders. He then cancelled the agreement so he could take it all for himself,” said Schoeman.

This follows Sterling Rand, which also assisted Makate financially, asking Vodacom to “withhold at least 50% of any settlement”, as it was concerned Makate and his lawyers, Stemela & Lubbe, would agree to a deal that excludes it.

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