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South Africa’s Aerobotics Named Most Innovative African Startup

Aerobotics’ team (COO, Tim Willis with President Macron Tech Award)
Aerobotics’ team (COO, Tim Willis with President Macron Tech Award)

Every entrepreneur wants to see their company being named as the most innovative African startup.

It’s a great feeling and comes with benefits too.

What is the best place than to be recognised as Africa’s best startup at VivaTech?

VivaTech is the world’s rendezvous for startups and leaders to celebrate innovation.

It also breaks down the traditional barriers between grassroots innovators and global leaders.

Today, South African-based agritech startup Aerobotics was named the most innovative African startup at VivaTech 2019.

“We’re extremely excited to name Aerobotics our leading startup for AfricArena and are proud to be associated with the fast developing agritech company that is making a global impact on farm production,” says Christophe Viarnaud, AfricArena CEO.

“We look forward to Aerobotics’ mission to help shape the future of farming through their AI and crop monitoring software and seeing their success unfold more than ever before.”

Aeroview InField scouting application used in the field
Aeroview InField scouting application used in the field

Recognising that technology is revolutionising Africa, VivaTech featured, for the second time, a dedicated Afric@Tech section – showcasing 50 African startups from four key sectors, among them the ten startups making up the AfricArena delegation.

This year proved another success for tech innovation from the continent of Africa.

“The VivaTech 2019 journey has been an amazing venture”, says Tim Willis, Aerobotics’ COO.

Tim Willis, Aerobotics’ COO
Tim Willis, Aerobotics’ COO, presenting at the AfricArena pitch battle at VivaTech 2019

“Since our 2018 involvement with AfricArena, the accelerator has provided key opportunities to expand our networks, particularly in Europe. Our shared vision to scale African tech into global markets strongly aligns with our expansion plans. The positive uptake abroad of our product is proof that African tech is world class.”

Aerobotics is an artificial intelligence agritech start-up specialising in tree crop pest and disease monitoring processes using aerial data and AI software.

While headquartered in Cape Town, they are serving clients in more than 18 countries. Aerobotics recently expanded its series funding round from $2 million to $4 million.

“Going into a second consecutive year with the AfricArena VivaTech Challenge, we are excited at the prospects of another year of their successful partnership,” says Willis.

“We’ve worked hard to gain the trust of more than a thousand farmers in ten countries and this opportunity is giving us a chance to extend our market expansion strategy to France and USA.”

“This is a win-win for everyone. We know that South African farmers are early-adopters when it comes to new technology. We’re confident that Aeroview can be used to their immediate benefit.”
“This is a win-win for everyone. We know that South African farmers are early-adopters when it comes to new technology. We’re confident that Aeroview can be used to their immediate benefit.”

AfricArena is anchored and endorsed by major international sponsors BNP Paribas, La French Tech, Silicon Cape, Vinci Energies, AirFrance KLM, Engie, Sanofi, Saint-Gobain, Methys, City of Cape Town, Proparco, RCS, and Leroy Merlin.

Next Steps

Africa is the future and African tech is where to invest right now. AfricArena offers the ideal deal-making platform where corporates, angels, VCs and CVCs, incubators/accelerators and entrepreneurs can join forces for the good of innovation and the growth of the African tech ecosystem.

AfricArena 2019 is taking place at the Century City Conference Centre from 11 – 12 November 2019. – lourie@techfinancials.co.za

Discovery Is The World’s Second-Strongest Insurance Brand

Discovery headquarters
Discovery Headquarters. Rich T Photo / Shutterstock.com

Discovery, SA’s largest health-insurance administrator, has been named as the world’s second-strongest insurance brand.

Every year, leading valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance values the world’s biggest brands.

The 100 most valuable insurance brands in the world are included in the Brand Finance Insurance 100 2019 report.

Brand Finance’s Brand Strength Index, the world’s leading independent brand valuation consultancy, named China’s Pin An as the world’s strongest insurance brand with its brand value up 93% to $50.5 billion.

Discovery is a new entrant to this year’s Brand Finance Insurance 100 2019, scoring an impressive brand strength index (BSI) score of 85.97 out of 100, making it the world’s second strongest insurance brand.

Discovery is South Africa’s largest health-insurance administrator and has seen major success through its Vitality rewards scheme which awards points for completing various online health assessments and routine medical checks.

The brand has also launched a Discovery Bank.

“What is the purpose of a strong brand: to attract customers, to build loyalty, to
motivate staff? All true, but for a commercial brand at least, the first answer must
always be ‘to make money’,” asked David Haigh, CEO, Brand Finance.

Discovery provides administration and managed care services to over 3.3 million beneficiaries.

It has a market share of over 40% in the overall medical scheme market in South Africa.

The administrator also and manages 18 restricted medical schemes on behalf of leading corporate clients, as well as Discovery Health Medical Scheme, South Africa’s largest open medical scheme.

Telkom Connects Soweto School To The World

Soweto. Sunshine Seeds / Shutterstock.com

A high speed, quality fibre connection, provided by Telkom, is set to make a big difference in the lives of learners of Orlando High School in Soweto.

“The internet will be an enabler for us as learners from the township. The teaching and learning environment will change drastically and [it] will open a whole new world for us. We will not be left out as the world moves into the Fourth Industry Revolution,” said Orlando High student representative Thatho Mahlatsi on Friday morning.

The school, which has a rich political history dating back to the liberation struggle, received a fibre connection earlier today as the country marks World Telecommunications and Information Society Day (WTISD).

WTIS Day is spearheaded by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and has been celebrated annually since 2006. The day focuses on the importance of ICT and issues relating to the information society.

Speaking at the activation, Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko said the fibre connection at the school marks the start of a broader investment into South Africa’s 26 000 estimated schools.

Maseko views the rollout of fibre internet as a catalyst for economic development and education.

“Our focus is to ensure that many South Africans are connected to quality and fast internet. With more people connected, the less the data will cost,” Maseko said.

Wi-Fi. Shutterstock.com /NicoElNino

Telkom is exploring partnering with government to roll out a fibre network to public places like schools, hospitals and police stations so that they get connectivity at zero-rated costs.

With the right technology, Maseko said, this fibre connection can contribute to many other sectors and contribute to revitalising the township economy.

Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, who led the WTISD Day celebrations, said information and communication technologies are important tools for advancing a more equitable and prosperous South Africa.

She encouraged the learners to use the connectivity to their advantage and tell the world their stories and history.

Government’s plan is to ensure that policies and regulations are in place so that Telkom and others are able to roll out internet connectivity throughout the country.

“As much as government has made investments in the digital space the main drivers are the industry role players. This is why as a government we are calling on many other networks to join in connecting the unconnected.”

The minister said as much as government is driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the issue of speed and the quality of the connectivity becomes crucial.

She said while President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on investors to invest in the country, the government had to ensure the best infrastructure was in place for their investments. The government will be establishing the Digital Development Fund to assist in the rollout of this infrastructure and move the country towards the realisation of the 2030 National Development Plan (NDP) goals.

Radio frequency spectrum allocation policy

Ndabeni–Abrahams said the government is moving towards finalising the radio frequency spectrum allocation policy directive.

She has extensively engaged the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to ensure the regulator is adequately resourced to effectively conduct the spectrum licencing process once the policy directive is issued.

The Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services has reprioritised its finances and has already transferred R10 million to ICASA which will be used to provide for the requisite additional human and financial resources that will be borne by the regulator.

To ensure an inclusive approach, Ndabeni-Abrahams said she has invited sector stakeholders to provide written submissions on their interpretation of the definition of the spectrum licencing process.

“We want to ensure everybody that we are in charge of the process and that everybody will get what they deserve according to the country’s priorities.”

Through spectrum licensing, the government wants to fast-track 4G spectrum assignment which operators have been waiting for for many years. It will also help transform the sector by attracting new investments while also hastening the growth of mobile communications in the country.

Broadcasting Digital Migration

With regards to the implementation of broadcasting digital migration, the Minister said one of the reasons for the delay was that few people have registered to receive the subsidised set-top boxes, which are needed to facilitate the switch from analogue broadcasting to digital.

With this in mind, they have to extend the rollout until 2020 so as to bring everybody on board. – SAnews.gov.za

SARB Wants To Explore The possibility Of A ZAR-Backed Digital Currency

Stack of Bitcoin coins on Southern Africa flag.
Stack of Bitcoin coins on Southern Africa flag. Wit Olszewski / Shutterstock.com

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) is investigating the feasibility, desirability and appropriateness of central bank issued digital currency to be used as an electronic legal tender, complimentary to cash.

The SARB has issued a tender notification on 14 May 2019.

The tender notification reads:

Request for expression of interest from prospective solution providers in anticipation of a feasibility project for the issuance of electronic legal tender – a central bank digital currency issued and backed by the South African Reserve Bank.

The SARB said in the tender notification it is embarking on a process to identify potential solution providers in the financial technology (FinTech) and related domains, and therefore invites responses to this expression of interest (EOI).

“It is imperative to highlight that this digital currency feasibility project will be purely exploratory in nature, and by no means constitutes any long-term plan and/or a commitment by the SARB to issue a digital currency,” said SARB.

The purpose-led vision of the SARB is to lead in serving the economic well-being of
South Africans through price and financial stability. To this end, the project will aim to
explore the possibility of supporting this vision through the issuance of digital currency.

Bitcoin on South African Rands Banknotes Background.  Eakvoraseth / Shutterstock.com
Bitcoin on South African Rands Banknotes Background. Eakvoraseth / Shutterstock.com

The guiding policy for the exploration of the development of the digital currency is:

  • Digital currency will be issued as legal tender by the SARB only.
  • A possible alternative scenario is for the SARB to back the digital currency and to set
    regulatory standards and interoperability requirements, but with commercial banks
    acting as issuing authorities under the regulatory oversight of the SARB.
  • The supply of digital currency must be limited as determined by applicable monetary policy.
  • It must be possible to issue and distribute digital currency to commercial banks only, or to commercial banks as well as licensed service providers. Such licensed service
    providers could be instrumental in broadening the base for financial inclusion and
    would be authorised and licensed upon meeting a defined set of regulatory criteria.
  • Digital currency must be complementary to cash and is not intended to replace cash. However, it is expected that digital currency would influence the movement of cash or even displace cash to some extent over time.
  • Digital currency must be a liability on the SARB balance sheet.
  • Digital currency must be issued at one-to-one parity with the rand.
  • Transacting with digital currency must be free to the consumer, or at a very low cost
    significantly below current payment channel fees.
  • Digital currency must offer value or an incentive to promote its use, including a lower cost to the industry compared with the cost of cash.
  • Digital currency must be ubiquitous and accepted as a means of payment by all sizes of
    business and by the government.
  • Digital currency must not introduce the risk of destabilising the financial sector and
    mechanisms must be incorporated to give effect to policy decisions regarding its
    supply and movement. Specifically, it must be possible to manage risks such as value
    migrating rapidly from commercial bank money to digital currency, thereby skewing the ability
    of commercial banks to provide credit.
  • Digital currency must provide the opportunity for stakeholders to innovate in terms of payment
    products, but must not be seen to disintermediate commercial banks.
  • Digital currency must be usable alongside the rand in the member states of the Common
    Monetary Area (CMA).
  • Consumers must be able to own and transact in digital currency without the need for a bank account.
  • Consumers and businesses must be provided with the channels to obtain or return
    digital currency in exchange for cash and commercial bank money.
  • Digital currency must be freely and seamlessly interchangeable between an account-based store of value and a tokenised store of value. Digital currency is expected to be interest-free or attract zero interest. This must, however, be a variable attribute to cater for different policy positions in future.

Branding of the Digital Currency

SARB states in the tender notification that the digital currency should be:

  • branded and its ownership by the SARB as issuer must be evident.
  • unique in its design and its SARB ownership must be clear and
  • trusted and acceptable to all members of the public as legal tender,
    a safe store of value, and as secure means to transfer value during transacting.

Why Parents Should Think Twice About Tracking Apps For Their Kids

Wearable children tracking gadget
Wearable children tracking gadget. JpegPhotographer / Shutterstock.com

by Joel Michael Reynolds

The use of self-tracking and personal surveillance technologies has grown considerably over the last decade. There are now apps to monitor people’s movement, health, mindfulness, sleep, eating habits and even sexual activity.

Some of the more thorny problems arise from apps designed to track others, like those made for parents to track their kids. For example, there are specific apps that allow parents to monitor their child’s GPS location, who they call, what they text, which apps they use, what they view online and the phone number of their contacts.

As a bioethicist who specializes in the ethics of emerging technologies, I worry that such tracking technologies are transforming prudent parenting into surveillance parenting.

Here are three reasons why.

1. Companies are tracking for profit

The first reason has to do with concerns over the tech itself.

Tracking apps are not primarily designed to keep children safe or help with parenting. They are designed to make money by gathering loads of information to be sold to other companies.

A 2017 report from a marketing research firm estimates that self-monitoring technologies for health alone will reach gross revenues of US$71.9 billion by 2022.

The lion’s share of the profit is not in the device itself, but in the data drawn from its users.

To get as much data as they can, these apps work hard to keep one constantly using them via push notifications and other design techniques.

This data is then often sold to other companies – including advertising agencies and political campaign firms. The primary aim of these devices is not people’s well-being, but the profit that can be made off of their data.

When parents track children, they help companies maximize their profits. Should a child’s information become de-anonymized and fall into the wrong hands, this could put one’s child at risk.

2. Risks of leaking private data

There are also significant privacy risks.

A 2014 study by the security firm Symantec found that even devices that do not appear to be traceable can still be tracked wirelessly, as a result of insufficient privacy features.

Data from tracking can be misused.
Josep Suria

That same year, a study by computer scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that many Android mobile health applications, for example, send unencrypted information over the Internet. Nearly all of these apps monitor one’s location. Researchers at MIT and the Catholic University of Louvain found that just four time-stamped locations could uniquely identify 95% of individuals, making promises of anonymity hollow.

Information related to people’s whereabouts can reveal valuable data about them. In the case of children, their tracking data could very easily be used by someone else.

3. It can break trust

Another reason why tracking one’s child is worrisome has to do with the risk of breaking their trust.

Social scientists have shown that trust is central to close relationships, including healthy parent-child relationships. It is necessary for the development of commitment and feelings of security. A child’s sense of personal privacy is a crucial component of this trust.

A 2019 study shows monitoring a child can undermine the sense of trust and bonding. In fact, it can become counterproductive to the point of pushing the child further towards rebellion.

This risk, I would argue, is perhaps far more serious than those leading parents to track their children in the first place.

A few exceptions

While I think that tracking one’s child is often unethical, there are some cases where it may be warranted.

If a parent has good reasons to suspect that their child is suicidal, involved in violent extremism, or engaged in other activities that threaten their life or that of others, the best course of action may involve breaking trust, invading privacy and monitoring the child.

But those are the exceptions, not the rule. Think twice before tracking your kids.

Editor’s note: This piece is part of our series on ethical questions arising from everyday life. We would welcome your suggestions. Please email us at ethical.questions@theconversation.com.The Conversation

Joel Michael Reynolds, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Massachusetts Lowell

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

SingularityU South Africa Brings Together Over 20 Global Thought Leaders

Exponential Finance Summit
Exponential Finance Summit

SingularityU South Africa today announced that more speakers have been added to the programme for the inaugural Exponential Finance Summit.

The summit will take place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 29 and 30 May 2019.

The new speakers include Shane Glynn, Hylton Kallner, Phathizwe Malinga, Benjamin Rosman and Magda Wierzycka.

These speakers add to the already prestigious slate of presentations boasting world-renowned cybersecurity expert Jaya Baloo, economics and exponential business models expert Amin Toufani, blockchain specialist Tanya Knowles, future of cities expert Geci Karuri-Sebina (PHD), Catherine Wood, founder of ARK invest, and data science specialist Manu Sharma. Other headline speakers include Ramez Naam, Kyle Nel, David Roberts, Kirsty Roth, Ashley Anthony, Mic Mann, Shayne Mann, Nathana Sharma, and Paul Pagnatto – one of the top 35 global wealth advisors globally.

This event is the next iteration in SingularityU’s journey to #futureproofAfrica, by creating a global community of changemakers, who are able to implement solutions to solve the world’s Global Grand Challenges by using exponential technologies.

“As part of our journey in future-proofing Africa, we are thrilled to have added more incredible speakers to the lineup for our Exponential Finance Summit. We feel a great sense of pride to be bringing these world-class experts and thinking to our South African shores,” said Shayne Mann, co-CEO of SingularityU South Africa.

“Through the Exponential Finance Summit, we hope to facilitate meaningful networking connections on a global scale, encourage ideas that can change the financial world, stimulate the South African economy, and kickstart a strong venture capital ecosystem. The impact is the currency of the future and these new speakers promise to add exactly that,” said Mic Mann, co-CEO of SingularityU South Africa.

The Exponential Finance Summit is an industry-specific event hosted in collaboration with The Development Bank of Southern Africa, global partners Deloitte, and Discovery, and strategic partner MTN.

The Summit will showcase how exponential technologies are simultaneously shaping and disrupting the financial industry. It aims to empower attendees with the latest insights on how to boost GDP growth, create employment, and attract foreign direct investment—a key enabler of economic growth that is especially important for emerging market economies.

“Exponential Finance will be a transformative experience for attendees. SingularityU South Africa convenes the world’s experts to introduce attendees to exponential technologies and equip them with the mindset and leadership needed to take the finance industry into the future,” said Rob Nail, CEO and associate founder of Singularity University.

“We expect that these two days will incite and inspire action that will lead to breakthroughs in Africa’s economy.”

Similar to the annual SingularityU South Africa Summit, Exponential Finance will focus on creating a collaborative and more economically-inclusive future, whereby partnerships and deals can be conceptualised and developed across the continent.

Networking opportunities will allow attendees to connect with SingularityU alumni.

Exhibitors will present breakthrough ideas and investment opportunities that will run alongside the summit.

6 Things Your Car Insurance Company Won’t Tell You Over The Phone

Car insurance.
Car insurance. Song_about_summer / Shutterstock.com

Car Insurance… one of the most hated expenses in South Africa (other than medical aid of course)! That debit order that comes off every month that we dread seeing but something that we can’t live without in South Africa.

The South African roads are getting more and more dangerous.

We saw a staggering 17% increase in road crashes from early December 2015 to 2016.

This results in an increased need for car insurance but ultimately equates to this: Increase in crashes + Increased car insurance claims = higher car insurance premiums for all of us.

6 Tips When Insuring Your Car

1. Claims Claims Claims!:

Before choosing an insurance provider check what the claims process is, there are some companies that have very efficient processes using apps etc. Also, make sure you are aware of how to claim. eg: if you wait too long your claim could be rejected.

2. Premiums that are too good to be true:

Be wary of premiums that are “cheap”, more often than not you are sacrificing in another area for example high excess!

3. High Excess:

Don’t sign for an unreasonably high excess that you can’t afford to lower your premiums. If you can’t afford that excess when it comes to claims stage there was no use in paying for the car insurance in the first place. A couple of extra bucks could save you from a world of hurt.

4. Vehicle Details Check:

Be sure to check that your vehicle details on your policy document that is sent to you are correct. If the details are wrong, your insurance company won’t pay out your claims.

5. Make sure that your broker or insurance company is registered at the FSP:

The company will have an FSP number that you can use to check at the Financial Services Board (FSB).

6. Some insurance schemes offer partial or savings type cover that is super limited:

It’s recommended to cover the full retail value if your car especially if your car is financed.

Why Update My Insurer?

Car Insurance accident.
Car Insurance accident. Shutterstock.com / Rawpixel.com

Many of us don’t know this but if something “big” in your life changes, not only do we need to update your facebook followers but we actually have to update our insurance company or broker!

Why should we tell them you ask? Because if we don’t tell them that we have moved homes and someone breaks into our car at the new house…they will reject our claim.

Here are some big events we need to tell our insurance providers about:

  • Moving to a new home: this is a must because the location that your car is parked at has now changed.
  • Getting hitched: your policy may not cover your new husband or wife and if your policy doesn’t specify another driver they won’t pay if your partner is in an accident with your car. ALSO, your premium may go down because insurers see married people as less risky.
  • Got a new job: Wonderful! but be sure to tell your insurance company because it matters where your car is actually parked during most of the day and where your policy document says your car is parked.

Underground Wi-Fi Improves Productivity At Anglo American’s Coal Mines

Wi-Fi. Shutterstock.com /NicoElNino

Mining group Anglo American invest R10 million in underground Wi-Fi infrastructure at its coal mines in South Africa.

Installing Wi-Fi underground is significantly more difficult than above ground. There are no cellphone towers underground, and signals are weakened and distorted by uneven surfaces, earthen walls and other obstacles in tunnels of different sizes.

However, the benefits will rapidly repay the initial R10 million investment, says Anglo American.

The introduction of underground Wi-Fi has improved productivity and working conditions for hundreds of miners at Anglo American’s coal mining operations in Mpumalanga by enabling two-way communications between miners working underground and staff on the surface.

Goedehoop Colliery recently became the coal division’s second operation to introduce intrinsically safe wireless communication infrastructure and smartphones at its 4 million tonne per annum Simunye Shaft.

Zibulo Colliery was the first Anglo American Coal South African mine to introduce the technology in 2016.

“We’re working in an environment where safety and productivity are paramount,” said Anglo American’s Edgar Simfukwe.

“The introduction of underground Wi-Fi is a game-changer. It allows our miners to communicate more easily, thereby making mines more productive. The main benefit is that breakdowns can be reported and resolved faster – in some cases, by contacting equipment manufacturers on the spot.”

“Not only that, employees can send photographs and video clips to aid troubleshooting,” said Simfukwe. “They’re also able to arrange for the immediate dispatch of spare parts, get work authorisations, and flag faults before they become major issues.”

Traditionally, coal mines use fixed underground telephones, which frequently require a long walk or drive to reach. This means employees often need to return to the surface to get a message to a colleague, report a problem or access critical information.

 Thembisile Masanabo PIT Instrumentation
Thembisile Masanabo PIT Instrumentation

With the new Wi-Fi and smartphones, miners can communicate instantly via voice calls or text messaging to and from the surface, and from one underground section to another.

Apart from resolving communication challenges, the Wi-Fi network also tracks key equipment through communication tags and allows for people to be located in the event of an emergency.

“Up to 750 people work in an area of around 20 square kilometres, so it’s important that we know where each of them are if an underground emergency occurs. Should an evacuation occur, we are able to determine from the control room whether anyone has been left behind, exactly who they are and their last known location,” said Simfukwe.

Get Big Discounts On Top Smartphone Brands

Smartphones. Shutterstock.com

As part of its latest flash sale, Gearbest is doling out discounts on top smartphones of up to 40%.


CUBOT Quest Phablet Rugged Smartphone 

Cubot Quest Lite is the world’s thinnest rugged phone, only 8.8mm.

It is an Android 9.0 phablet with quad-core CPU and IP68 waterproof.

Unlike other shockproof phones, Cubot Quest Lite is not only thin but also fashion-looking, the gorilla glass 5 makes it a perfect outdoor companion because of the dustproof and anti-scratch.

The phone is available for $119.99 and you get a 40% discount in the device’s original asking price of $198.49.

You can buy the Cubot phone here.

Cubot Quest Lite
Cubot Quest Lite

UMIDIGI One Pro 4G Phablet

The phone is available for $149.99 and you get a 26% discount in the device’s original asking price of $201.42.


The latest generation 5.9-inch 19:9 FullSurface display provides a sharp and full-of-life image with low power consumption.

The UMIDIGI One Pro is designed with a side fingerprint sensor on top of its power button. This new position allows you to unlock your device while keeping it in your palm in your natural holding position.

HUAWEI P30 Lite 4G Phablet

Stylish and streamlined; the HUAWEI P30 lite fits comfortably in the palm of your hand. The slim 3D curved glass design is crafted for easy grip and one-handed use.

Give your photos a boost with powerful AI scene recognition technology.

The HUAWEI P30 lite front camera can identify more than 8 categories in real-time while the rear camera can recognise 22 different categories. Settings like colour, lighting and contrast are automatically adjusted to produce dazzling photos.

HUAWEI P30 Lite 4G Phablet
HUAWEI P30 Lite 4G Phablet

The phone is available for $329.99 and you get a 21% discount in the device’s original asking price of $415.13. You can buy the device here.


#PleaseCallMeMovement Puts Pressure On Vodacom To Pay Nkosana Makate


The Please Call Me Movement, which wants Vodacom to pay the Please Call Me Inventor, continues to put pressure on the Vodafone-owned company to pay what is due to Nkosana Makate.

Makate developed the “Please Call Me” product in November 2000.

The activists descended on the Vodacom headquarters in Midrand, Johannesburg on Wednesday. They were protesting and blocked the entrance of the Vodacom headquarters.

The group continues to demand that Vodacom pays Makate.

TechFinancials was also informed that the #PleaseCallMeMovement delegates met with the Vodacom legal team, excluding its chief officer of Legal and Regulatory, Snakes Nyoka.

“We can confirm that about 20 people staged a protest on the Vodacom campus yesterday and that a meeting took place between protesters and Vodacom representatives,” a Vodacom spokesperson said in an email response.

Nkosana Makate, the inventor of Vodacom’s Please Call Me service
Nkosana Makate, the inventor of Vodacom’s Please Call Me service

In 2016, the Constitutional Court ruled that Vodacom must pay Makate as the inventor of the “Please Call Me” service, and that if negotiations failed, Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub must determine a “reasonable amount”, MoneyWeb reported at the time.

“Mr Makate has publicly rejected the Vodacom Group CEO’s determination on the quantum of compensation payable to him and he has declared that he will subject this determination to judicial review,” added the Vodacom spokesperson.

Vodacom said it is confident that it has acted ethically and complied in full with the Order of the Constitutional Court.

The battle has been drawn for more than 10 years and the settlement negotiations have still not yielded any positive results.

Shammeel Joosub, Vodacom CEO
Shammeel Joosub, Vodacom CEO. Image source: Future CEOs

Meanwhile, a group which funded Makate’s initial legal case against Vodacom is planning to launch an application to remove the arbitrator who is overseeing an important aspect of the case, according to the Sunday Times.

The group is known as Raining Men Trade.

The report states that the arbitration – which was set for June – will deal with Makate’s agreement with the group.

“We’re looking at long-haul litigation still. It will be long before we get to the arbitration,” said a Raining Men Trade representative.

There is a 2016 court order which states the funders are “entitled to half of Makate’s award”, the group told Sunday Times.

Advocate Andrew Mabena is the arbitrator in the matter of whether Makate’s “financiers” are entitled to a share of his Vodacom payout.

“There is nothing that can be offered to them,” said Makate, adding that there is no talk of settling with his funders.

For more read: Please Call Me Funders Seek Share Of ‘R49 Million’ Vodacom Payout and also: What Should Vodacom Pay “Please Call Me Inventor” Nkosana Makate?