Muzikayise Malephane's number plate screw-up helped nail him, court hears
While self-confessed killer Muzikayise Malephane may have been under the impression that he was nailed for Tshegofatso Pule’s murder because Ntuthuko Shoba had betrayed him, it came to light that it may have been his own shoddiness that helped police nab him.
Under cross-examination in the high court in Johannesburg on Thursday, it emerged Malephane may have lost the fake number plate he had used to conceal his original number plate on the day of the crime.
Shoba’s lawyer said there was a camera on Albertina Sisulu Road, parallel to Main Reef Road where Malephane was captured in a silver-grey Jeep. The body of Pule, who had just been shot dead, was placed in the back seat.
“There is a camera on Albertina Sisulu that is parallel to Main Reef Road. That is how you were connected [to the crime],” said Norman Makhubela, who is representing Shoba.
“How is that possible because I used false number plates?” replied Malephane.
I had initially attached the false number in the back and front, but when I was taking them off, I found that the one at the back was gone.Muzikayise Malephane
“You can ask the investigating officer but your car number plate was picked up [by the camera] on Albertina Sisulu. You were heading towards where you stay or Durban Deep,” he said.
“It’s possible but I am not sure,” Malephane said, seemingly deep in thought.
“[In your version] you were assured by Shoba that your number plate and licence disc would not be captured by the cameras at his complex [when you picked up Pule] so why did you change your plates?” Makhubela continued.
“For my safety,” Malephane replied.
Asked exactly where he had attached the false plates, Malephane replied: “I had initially attached the false number in the back and front, but when I was taking them off, I found that the one at the back was gone.
“I don’t know where it could have fallen off.”
Testifying on Wednesday, Malephane had told the court of his anger on learning from police shortly after his arrest that Shoba had offered them CCTV footage from his complex, which showed Pule getting into the vehicle driven by Malephane.
On the night of her murder on June 4, 2020, Pule thought Malephane was an Uber driver who had been hailed to collect her from Shoba’s home in Florida, Roodepoort, and take her home to Meadowlands in Soweto.
It is Malephane’s version that he had been hired by Shoba to kill her.
Pule — who was Shoba's on-again, off-again girlfriend — was pregnant with his daughter and was less than a month from giving birth. Shoba had allegedly wanted her killed to conceal the pregnancy from his wife.
Besides his fear of losing his wife, Malephane claimed that Shoba was worried that he would lose out on R8m from a trust fund payout he and his wife had just received.
Malephane said after some negotiation, he and Shoba had agreed on a R70,000 payment for the murder.
The plan was for Pule to be hung over the Maraisburg bridge and to stage it as a suicide, according to his testimony. He, however, suddenly diverted from the plan and shot Pule in Noordgesig before heading to Durban Deep where he hanged her from a tree.
During Thursday’s proceedings, it was revealed that this was just 800m from where Malephane was residing with his girlfriend.
Asked why he had changed the plan, Malephane said: “It’s because it was impossible to hang a person in Maraisburg. It’s a busy road and the bridge is too high.
“The second reason is I had driven around for too long looking for a place but I had given up and decided that f**k it, I am just going to do it there,” said Malephane, who added that he was in a state of shock and trauma at the time.
The trial continues.