A settlement offered by South African mobile telecoms provider Vodacom to a former employee drew tens of protesters on the streets of Johannesburg on Thursday.
They’re calling for a better deal for a former Vodacom employee, who played a key role in creating the company’s call-back messaging service.
The service, allows Vodacom customers to send a free message to someone to call them when they can’t afford to make the call themselves.
I think it's very important because the poor cannot even...there are some people who cannot even afford airtime, so how are they going to communicate with other people?
“I think it’s very important because the poor cannot even…there are some people who cannot even afford airtime, so how are they going to communicate with other people? So, the easiest way to actually communicate is actually to send a ‘Please Call Me’ that will allow the next person, who has airtime at that time to actually call you back”, said Makate supporter, David Tau.
The service is highly-popular in South Africa.
And these protesters want Nkosana Makate, the man behind it to get 70 billion rand or about 5 billion U.S. dollars for it.
In 2016, Vodacom was ordered by South Africa’s top court to pay Makate for his role in creating the service.
But the court did not set a specific compensation amount, leaving the two parties to figure it out.
Vodacom says the offer it made early on in January is “reasonable”.
Makate has called the settlement proposal “shocking and insulting”, but he didn’t say what he would consider to be a reasonable amount.