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SA Ombudsmen at Cyberweek 2023

A fantastic Cyberweek ended on Nov 10. You can still participate in the next event by following the instructions at the bottom of this page.

Enroll and participate at the

any time

This event was continued past Cyberweek in order for SIB Marketplace Pty Ltd and Smartsettle Resolutions to continue expanding their sights inviting the wider Ombudsmen community in South Africa to experience a revolutionary dispute resolution system called Smartsettle ONE. The ONE platform leverages powerful algorithms that simplify and automate the process of dispute resolution for enhanced efficiency. This initiative marks a significant stride in addressing the challenges of the rapidly evolving dispute resolution landscape. This eTournament is bringing together entities and individuals spanning the mediation, negotiation, legal and ombudsmen sectors to experience an edutainment event where they can compete for the highest scores on the live leaderboard.

During Cyberweek the schedule was as follows:

Nov 6, 2023, 2 - 3 pm (EST): Smartsettle ONE Demo Tournament Preview

Nov 10, 2023, 11 - noon (EST): Smartsettle ONE Demo Tournament Windup

During the windup hour, we gave stragglers a chance to complete their negotiations and increased the population on the leaderboard.

The tournament is hosted at the International eNegotiation Exhibition where everyone is welcome! Join any time to participate in continuous edutainment events. Participants will also be able to earn Continuous Professional Development (CPD) points for participation.

The context for this event is the well-known Vodacom versus Makate case summarized as follows.

Vodacom vs Makate (more info here)

The ongoing legal battle between Nkosana Makate, the inventor of the 'Please Call Me' service, and Vodacom centers around the compensation that Vodacom owes Makate for his invention. Vodacom is a leading South African mobile telecommunications company with a market capitalization of around R216 billion (US$11.2 Billion).

In 2000, while working as a trainee accountant at Vodacom, Makate developed the concept behind the 'Please Call Me' service. However, he had to go to court to be officially recognized as the inventor after former Vodacom CEO Alan Knott-Craig tried to take credit for the invention in his 2009 autobiography.

The case eventually reached the Constitutional Court, which in 2016 ruled in Makate's favor and ordered Vodacom to negotiate a "reasonable compensation" with him. However, seven years later, the two parties still cannot agree on what constitutes "reasonable compensation"

Vodacom has offered Makate R47 million (US$2.4 million) but he insists he's owed 5% of the revenue generated from his invention, which he estimates to be around R9 billion (US$466 million). In 2022, the Pretoria High Court found that Vodacom's proposed amount was not fair and sent the matter back to the Vodacom CEO, Shameel Joosub, to make a new determination.

Vodacom is now appealing that decision. In its appeal papers, the company argues that Makate used a "conceptually and fundamentally flawed" model to arrive at his figures and labels them as "grossly exaggerated".


  • Enroll at the eNegotiation Exhibition

  • Join the free tournament event

  • Complete three learning modules

  • Learn the basics about Smartsettle, mostly how Smartsettle ONE works, but also a general introduction to Infinity*

  • Learn more in the Fundamentals Event if you need a certificate for Continuing Professional Development ($35)

  • Choose "Negotiate with the Robot" (on the left side menu) if more practice is desired

  • Choose "Negotiate with Humans" (on the left side menu)

  • To start, click to play as one of the parties

  • If no one else is online, wait for another human or invite a friend to be your opponent

  • While waiting for your opponent you may start another negotiation

  • Play in each role at least two times to get on the leaderboard

  • Remember that collaboration is the best strategy

  • Come back as often as you like to play against others and improve your score


  1. Learn the difference between Avoidant, Compromising, Competitive, Accommodating and Collaborative and choose the latter. Do not be tempted to be too generous as a way of reaching agreement. Smartsettle can identify and will punish in low points.

  2. The best strategy is to play a few negotiations early to get on the leaderboard and then at least one more on the last day to avoid the no activity penalty.

  3. If you don't want your name displayed, choose to be anonymous. You can still play.

* Smartsettle ONE is designed for the simplest possible negotiations (one numerical issue between two parties). It's also an excellent introduction to the concepts that are implemented in Smartsettle Infinity for complex problems.


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