2000: Nkosana Makate was employed as a trainee accountant by Vodacom.
November 2000: Makate came up with the "Please Call Me" idea because his girlfriend‚ a student with whom he had a long-distance relationship‚ could not afford to buy airtime to call him. He discussed the concept with Vodacom's director of product development‚ Philip Geissler. Makate asked for 15% of the revenue generated by the service. However‚ they verbally agreed that he would receive "a share" of the revenue if it proved to be successful.
Early 2001: Vodacom implemented the "Please Call Me" product and reported that about 140 000 customers made use of the service on the day it was launched.
Mid 2003: Makate left his job at Vodacom.
2008: Following unsuccessful requests to Vodacom to honour the verbal agreement‚ Makate took the cellular giant to the high court. He asked the court to order Vodacom to pay him 15% of the revenue of the "Please Call Me" service.
2013: Makate's financial backers‚the Sterling Rand Litigation Fund that funded his court battle for a cut of any settlement that may be achieved‚ estimated that Vodacom made up to R45-billion from the "Please Call Me" service. Based on the original request for a 15% share‚ the sum owed to Makate would be in the region of R6.75-billion.
2014: The high court ruled that Makate had a valid agreement with Geissler but dismissed his claim on various grounds‚ including that his claim had prescribed because more than three years had passed. Vodacom's former CEO Alan Knot-Craig‚ who claimed in his autobiography‚ Second is Nothing‚ to have been the brains behind "Please Call Me" was forced to admit during the drawn out legal battle that the idea in fact belonged to Makate.
2015: The Supreme Court of Appeal dismissed Makate's application for leave to appeal.