Lawyers for Vodacom have served Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi with a cease-and-desist document, warning him to stop commenting on its ongoing battle with “Please Call Me” inventor Nkosana Makate.
Lesufi on Wednesday posted parts of an email he had received from the mobile network provider on his Twitter timeline.
Part of the document called for Lesufi to “desist from making false and defamatory comments of and concerning our client in relation to its litigation with Mr Makate in general and in particular that our client is in wilful breach of the Constitutional Court order or that it is acting in an unfair and morally repugnant manner towards Mr Makate.”
Lesufi was also ordered to stop calling for “inciting the invasion and occupation of the Vodaworld store or any of our clients premises”.
He was given until midday on Wednesday to give a written undertaking to do this.
The company was reacting to Lesufi’s tweet from earlier this month, when he challenged Vodacom to pay Makate by the end of January 2019.
“Hi @Vodacom, the countdown starts now… Please pay him by 10am, 31st January 2019 or face the wrath of the nation. We are the economy and we can shut it down,” said Lesufi on his Twitter timeline.
His tweet came after the network operator announced that it had reached a settlement agreement with Makate and would pay “reasonable” compensation to him for his call-back service idea.
However, Makate rejected Vodacom’s announcement. “This is not true. The offer that they claim to be making me is ridiculous and insulting and we are not accepting it,” he said at the time.
Responding to Vodacom, Lesufi was seemingly unfazed by the legal action taken against him.
“Bring it on @Vodacom! I am NOT easily intimidated. You can’t bully me or silence my support to the weak and vulnerable. This is a democratic country and I have the right to express my views without fear. The apartheid regime detained me without trial. I am not scared!” he wrote on his timeline.
Meanwhile, a press invitation circulated on Tuesday said the ANC’s Liliesleaf Farm branch would on Wednesday hold a media briefing with Makate to address the ongoing dispute between him and Vodacom.
“A programme of action will be revealed during the media briefing on Wednesday,” read the invitation, which listed Lesufi among those scheduled to address the briefing.