• Vodacom payout talks with ’Please Call Me’ creator on hold
  • Urgent interdict set to be heard in High Court June 14

Vodafone Group Plc’s South African unit said negotiations to compensate a former employee who is credited with the idea for a popular calling service could be delayed because of a dispute between the person’s lawyers and the funders of his campaign.

An urgent interdict to delay Vodacom Group Ltd. from negotiating with Kenneth Makate and his lawyers will be heard in the High Court in Pretoria on June 14, according to court papers. The interdict was brought by Sterling Rand, which raised funds to pay for Makate’s successful eight-year legal pursuit of Vodacom to get compensation for ‘Please Call Me’.

“If the interdictory relief sought is granted by the High Court, the negotiations will possibly be delayed,” Vodacom spokesman Byron Kennedy said by phone.

Sterling Rand is concerned that Makate and his lawyers, Stemela & Lubbe, will agree to a deal that excludes the company. South Africa’s highest court ruled in April that Johannesburg-based Vodacom must compensate Makate for the ’Please Call Me’ idea, which allows customers with no balance on their mobile phones to alert someone with a free text message.

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