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LISTEN | Tshegofatso Pule murder: Killer implicated Shoba after learning he gave police CCTV footage

26 January 2022 - 13:02
Muzikayise Malephane, who killed Tshegofatso Pule, testifying at the trial of her former lover.
Muzikayise Malephane, who killed Tshegofatso Pule, testifying at the trial of her former lover.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

The man who killed heavily pregnant Tshegofatso Pule in June 2020 and hanged her body from a tree has shared more details about the night she died.

Muzikayise Malephane revealed Pule was murdered in Noordgesig near Soweto before he dumped her body in Durban Deep.

He said when he made contact with Ntuthuko Shoba, the man he claims contracted him to kill Pule, he was only concerned about whether the job was done and where her cellphone was.

Malephane was testifying in Shoba’s trial. Shoba, the alleged father of Pule’s unborn baby, allegedly ordered the hit on her to conceal her pregnancy from a woman who witnesses identified as his wife.

Malephane detailed how he and Shoba had planned the murder, with the initial plan for her to be hanged at the Maraisburg bridge.

“After an earlier meeting with Shoba, my friends and I sat in my house drinking. I was waiting for the go-ahead call from Shoba to indicate I can come pick up Ms Pule. He called and I left the house and went to Florida. I kept trying to call him and he was trying to call me but there were network issues,” said Malephane.

“When I finally got hold of him, he told me he was leaving the house and I could wait for him at the gate of the complex. This was after 8pm, before 9pm.

“I was driving my girlfriend’s silver-grey Jeep. I had agreed with Shoba that I was going to use the Jeep. It was meant to be used as a decoy, to make it appear as though she had requested an Uber.”

Malephane said he was aware there were CCTV cameras at Shoba’s complex.

“I knew there were cameras, but according to Shoba these would not be able to capture the licence plate and disc. He said they would only capture the sides of the car,” he said.

He has not yet told the court what happened during the drive from Shoba’s house to Noordgesig, where he murdered Pule.

Malephane said he made no contact with Shoba that night and the pair only communicated the next morning.

Ntuthuko Shoba in the dock at the Johannesburg high court. He is accused of ordering a hit on his pregnant on-and-off again girlfriend.
Ntuthuko Shoba in the dock at the Johannesburg high court. He is accused of ordering a hit on his pregnant on-and-off again girlfriend.
Image: Alaister Russell/Sunday Times

The hitman was presented with pictures of the scene where Pule was killed. He appeared emotional and wiped the corners of his eyes as he looked at the images.

“You do confirm this is where the hanging took place and you left her there?” Malephane was asked by prosecutor Faghre Mohammed.

“Correct,” he answered.

“What happened to her phone?” Mohammed asked.

“I have no idea. It could have been dropped when I shot her at Noordgesig or someone took it at the crime scene in Durban Deep,” Malephane replied.

Asked about the first phone conversation with Shoba the day after the murder, Malephane said: “I called him but he did not pick up. He called me back and asked was the job done. I said yes.

“But his biggest stress was her phone. He kept asking me over and over about the phone. We met at Cashbuild in Meadowlands. It was a Saturday. He told me he was still arranging money. That was the end of the conversation.”

The convicted killer said he was arrested on June 15 2020, 11 days after Pule’s murder. He said he was angry when he learnt Shoba had “thrown him under the bus” and after lying to the police, he had decided to come clean about Shoba’s role in the crime.

“At the time of my arrest I was confused and traumatised. I was in another state. I did not know what was what, hence in some of the statements I lied,” said Malephane.

He claimed the statement he presented during his plea bargain was entirely truthful.

Shoba’s lawyer previously told the court he had alerted the police to CCTV footage showing Pule leaving his home and getting into a Jeep.

Mohammed asked Malephane: “How did you feel about Shoba giving the police the footage?” 

“At that stage I got angry. I was mad. I decided to tell the whole truth so Pule’s family could know the truth,” he responded.

Malephane is set to be cross-examined by Shoba’s lawyer, Norman Makhubela.

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