Things were different back in 2000, before WhatsApp saved everyone loads of cash and you had to get creative with your texts.
Maxing out that 160 character limit, sending coded Please Call Me’s, if you were in high school at the time I’m sure you understand the struggle.
Well now the chap who claims to have invented the concept, Nkosana Makate, has won a massive victory in a Constitutional Court case against former employer Vodacom.
Some background from MyBroadband:
Makate was fighting Vodacom in a bid to get additional compensation – as much as R6.75 billion – which he says he was promised by the company.
He filed papers in the Constitutional Court last year after the South Gauteng High Court dismissed his case against Vodacom, with costs.
According to Makate, his boss Philip Geissler promised – in an oral agreement – to facilitate remuneration negotiations with the company.
Vodacom argued that the rights to anything developed or produced by its employees belong to the company. Makete disputed this, arguing the idea fell outside of his normal duties at Vodacom.
Vodacom also said that Geissler did not have the right to promise Makete anything on behalf of the company.
Vodacom argued there is a difference between an idea and a working product. The final product, which uses a USSD and SMS system with advertising, may therefore not be what Makete envisaged.
Legal experts have said that the ConCourt has no ground to reverse the factual finding of the High Court, although Makate could still be in for a big payday:
One of the findings was that Makate has proved existence of an agreement between him and Vodacom.
Rabkin reported that the Constitutional Court said the majority and minority agree that Vodacom is bound by this agreement, and must negotiate in good faith to pay him reasonable compensation.
More from Fin24:
“If it proved commercially viable, Mr Makate would be paid a share of proceeds from the product subject to terms to be negotiated between him and Mr Geissler. Vodacom implemented the idea in March 2001,” reads the summary of the Constitutional Court judgment.
“Given Mr Geissler’s position at Vodacom; the organisational structure within which he exercised his power; and his role in the process which had to be followed before a new product could be introduced at Vodacom, the judgment held that Mr Geissler had ostensible authority to bind Vodacom.
“The consequence was that Mr Geissler had ostensible authority to conclude a contract with Mr Makate and Vodacom was estopped from denying that authority. It was bound by the contract Mr Geissler concluded on its behalf,” the summary of the judgment noted.
I’d guess that almost R7 billion qualifies as reasonable compensation.
One idea folks, that’s all it takes sometimes…
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