After years of battling it out with Vodacom, ‘Please Call Me’ inventor Kenneth Nkosana Makate has won the case against the cellphone network service provider. In early May 2016, the Constitutional Court ruled in favour of Kenneth stating that Vodacom was bound by an agreement with Kenneth who has said that he had approached his former employer with the concept.
Read more about Great South African Innovations below:
All mobile phone owners know that should they find themselves without airtime to send a message or make a call, all they need to do is send a free ‘Please Call Me’ text message to any number. The receiver is notified that the sender wishes to speak to them. That simple!
There is however some dispute as to who exactly invented the system: either Vodacom former employee Kenneth Makate or former MTN employee Ari Kahn. Each has their own proof and the matter is still being investigated in court.
Another interesting telecoms development is also credited to a local. In 1947 a South African named John Karlin persuaded Bell Labs to create a unit, originally called the User Preference department and later Human Factors Engineering, to study the dynamics of using a telephone. It is from these studies that touch-tone dialling arose; effectively making John Karlin the inventor of touch-tone dialling and changing the way we use telephones forever.
Kenneth’s case not only proves that there is indeed no shortage of creative and aspiring minds in the local ICT and Telecommunications industry, but more importantly, it is a reminder that you should not throw in the towel when you feel you’ve been unfairly treated. If you’re considering suing your boss, make sure you’ve prepared yourself for the consequences, whether the outcome is with or against you.