Johannesburg – " I am willing to die for (Nkosana) Makate.”
These were the words of #PleaseCallMe movement convener Modise Setoaba, who on Thursday led a protest at giant network provider Vodacom’s VodaWorld headquarters in Midrand.
Setoaba said they would be intensifying the protest and called for people to cancel their contracts, boycott Vodacom-sponsored events, and take data and airtime advances and never pay them back.
The ANC Liliesleaf Farm branch and the movement’s committee member Benson Motsumi said: “We will give them a taste of their own medicine.”
Setoaba said that instead of paying Makate, Vodacom had sent police to block them from entering the premises.
“This is the day whereby we are saying: ‘Kill us today and keep your riches.’ In this country what is happening is that a black man should stay poor.
"Eighteen years after this invention, so many millions have been benefited by Vodacom, yet they are not willing to give the inventor his dues.
“If Vodacom doesn’t move we will make them move. The apartheid government did not move, we made it move. People died on June 16. People died in 1960. People also died in the 1980s.
"I’m saying, I am dying for economic freedom. I cannot be a black person shouting economic freedom and yet not going straight to white monopoly capital,” Setoaba said.
Vodacom reiterated it had made an offer to Makate and that “the ball is in his court”.
ANC Liliesleaf Farm branch’s Pat Baloyi said: “We are planning for mass action of monumental impact as we challenge this insensitive telecoms giant whose obsession seems to be profits at all costs and at the expense of justice.”
He said they would lobby the government to support the movement.
The movement is demanding that Vodacom pay Makate R70 billion.
The cellular giant was given an ultimatum to cough up by on Thursday morning or face the public’s wrath.
Black First Land First deputy president Zanele Lwana led a protest at Sandton City. The main pedestrian entrance on Rivonia Road was closed as members of the movement chanted slogans.
“Vodacom has closed its shops, and that is good. Vodacom continues to deny that Makate developed the service. We hope that this will not be the first and last intervention,” Lwana said.