Please Call Me Case Twists Again during Closing Arguments; Zz Vodacom Goes after Plaintiff's Legal Funder

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BYLINE: Asha Speckman

NKOSANA Makate was back in court yesterday as his long-running battle with Vodacom over compensation for the Please Call Me concept resumed for closing arguments.

But the company funding Makate's case, Sterling Rand, is embroiled in a separate legal wrangle against the cellular network giant.

Vodacom has applied to join Sterling Rand to the action with the aim that if Makate's case failed, Sterling Rand would be liable for Vodacom's legal bill in addition to Makate's costs.

Sterling Rand has opposed the application and its attorney, Wertheim Becker, is preparing an answering affidavit. Chris Schoeman, a Sterling Rand director, said the Vodacom application "serves no purpose. We say there is no law for it."

But Leslie Cohen, an attorney for Vodacom, cited examples of case law that supported attempts to expose funds, which are party to legal proceedings, to a court order. The SA National Potato case (PwC and Others v National Potato Co-operative) is well-known.

The date to hear this matter has not yet been set.

If that was not enough intrigue, the court also heard from Makate's counsel that in the weeks following the conclusion of hearings in July, they had tried access audio records of the proceedings through the South Gauteng High Court.

They discovered that the testimony by former Vodacom chief executive Alan Knott-Craig in the matter had vanished. The records were found a month later. These are the recordings of Knott-Craig's tell-all testimony under cross-examination in which he admitted he was not the inventor of the Please Call Me service, as he had claimed in his biography. …