Vodacom has repeatedly argued that it no longer kept records relating to the revenue that the Please Call Me service has generated for the company since its launch 19 years ago. Thus, it cannot determine how much money it has made from the service. But two Vodacom whistle-blowers have disputed this.
The protracted Please Call Me case has saddled Vodacom with renewed pressure to come clean on the money it has made from the mobile service since its public launch in 2001.
In various lawsuits between Please Call Me inventor Nkosana Makate and Vodacom over the past decade, the latter has repeatedly argued that it cannot determine how much revenue it generated from the mobile service.
Please Call Me enables a mobile subscriber without airtime to send a text message requesting to be called back by another subscriber. Makate has battled Vodacom in court for more than a decade for compensation for his idea that gave rise to the Please Call Me service.
In a 2016 judgment, the Constitutional Court ruled that Makate was entitled to compensation and if there was a deadlock in compensation negotiations Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub would be the final arbiter of the payout.