Tshegofatso Pule: Hope for truth as father of her unborn child appears in court
As the rain poured down across Roodepoort on Monday morning, the family of Tshegofatso Pule came face-to-face with the man accused of being the mastermind behind her murder.
“It’s a reopening of old wounds that were beginning to heal,” Pule’s uncle Tumisang Katake said at the Roodepoort magistrate’s court on Monday morning.
Katake was speaking after the court appearance of Ntuthuko Ntokozo Shoba, the father of Pule’s unborn child.
The National Prosecuting Authority confirmed that Shoba was charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder and defeating the ends of justice.
Gauteng police said Shoba was arrested at his home on Thursday evening for his alleged involvement in Pule’s murder last June.
Family members in court on Monday wore black “Justice for Tshego and the baby” T-shirts.
The 32-year-old man, with a beard and bald head, wore an all-black suit and shirt for his first court appearance. He had chains around his ankles.
He appeared calm during his brief appearance.
At the South Gauteng High Court on Friday, Muzikayise Malephane pleaded guilty to murdering Pule, alleging he had been offered R70,000 by Shoba to kill her.
Shoba allegedly wanted his eight-months pregnant lover killed, as he did not want his wife to learn he had fathered a child with another woman.
Malephane said he shot her in the chest and then, in a panic, tried to make her death look like a suicide by putting a rope around her neck and leaving her body against a tree.
He said he did this after fetching her from Shoba’s house, under the pretence of being an e-hailing taxi driver.
The court sentenced Malephane to 20 years' imprisonment for murder and five years for obstructing justice, possession of an unlicensed firearm and possession of ammunition, to be served concurrently.
Katake said the family knew that Pule was dating Shoba, but did not know “what type of relationship they had”.
“She never reported any forms of violence against her. She never reported any forms of intimidation from the guy, but I wouldn’t know what type of relationship they had because it was intimate between the two of them.”
Katake said the family had a sense of relief that Shoba was arrested, but they are still “in tatters, emotionally and psychologically”.
“We don’t know why ... At this point, those are still allegations against him.
“I’m not sure how they [the family] will handle this going forward. I can only hope that we recover as time goes on, but it’s going to be a difficult journey for us.”
The matter was postponed to March 1 for a formal bail application.