Court convicts Ntuthuko Shoba for masterminding Tshegofatso Pule’s murder

A group women picket outside the Johannesburg High Court during the Ntuthuko Shoba, the convicted mastermind of the murder of his pregnant girlfriend Tshegofatso Pule. Photo: Papi Morake/Gallo Images

A group women picket outside the Johannesburg High Court during the Ntuthuko Shoba, the convicted mastermind of the murder of his pregnant girlfriend Tshegofatso Pule. Photo: Papi Morake/Gallo Images

Ntuthuko Shoba, the man who masterminded the brutal murder of his heavily pregnant girlfriend, seemed to shed a tear in disbelief as acting Judge Stuart Wilson found him guilty of the premeditated murder of Tshegofatso Pule.

The verdict, which was handed down in the Johannesburg High Court on Friday, comes two years after Pule’s body was discovered hanging from a tree in Roodepoort, west of Johannesburg.

Ntuthuko Shoba, the man who masterminded the brutal murder of his heavily pregnant girlfriend, seemed to shed a tear in disbelief as acting Judge Stuart Wilson found him guilty of the premeditated murder of Tshegofatso Pule.The verdict, which was handed down in the Johannesburg High Court on Friday, comes two years after Pule’s body was discovered hanging from a tree in Roodepoort, west of Johannesburg.

Ntuthuko Shoba will be back in court on May 10 for sentencing Photo: Rosetta Msimango/City Press

But Shoba was found not guilty on one count of defeating the ends of justice, because the state failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he deliberately misled initial investigators probing Pule’s disappearance.

READ: Cell records may sink alleged mastermind of Tshegofatso Pule’s murder

“It seems to me that the state has not been entirely consistent in its approach to this charge. The evidence it initially led appeared to be setting up a case that Mr Shoba had tampered with the cellphone he handed over to the police when they were investigating Ms Pule disappearance and murder. It was said that there were incriminating WhatsApps deleted from that phone.

“However, these incriminating WhatsApps were never produced. Nor was it proved how Mr Shoba had tampered with the phone or deleted them,” Wilson said.

Shoba was implicated in Pule’s murder after the state secured a guilty plea from the man found guilty of her murder, Muzikayise Malephane in January last year.

Malephane admitted to killing her on the instruction of Shoba. In February last year Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng sentenced him to 20 years in prison for the murder, five years for defeating the ends of justice and five years for possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition.

Judge Wilson also said in his verdict that there was evidence from state witness Tsepiso Tsita, which corroborated Malephane’s version.

READ: Tshegofatso Pule: Why the alleged mastermind will apply to reopen the case

“The state’s first witness, Tsepiso Tsita confirmed that Ms Pule was invited to an interview at a McDonald’s in Ormonde, which is near Gold Reef City. The invitation was sent by SMS to Ms Pule. It purported to be from a woman called Zanele or Zandile, who said she acted on behalf of Kelly Recruitment.

“Ms Tsita saw the SMS message on May 29 2020. Ms Tsita saw further SMS messages from Zanele or Zandile, which told Ms Pule that she should go to the McDonald’s in Ormonde, where a Jeep would be waiting to pick her up. Ms Tsita confirmed that Ms Pule did not go in the end. This, it seems to me, is entirely consistent with Mr Malephane’s account of May 29 2020.”

But Shoba was found not guilty on one count of defeating the ends of justice, because the state failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he deliberately misled initial investigators probing Pule’s disappearance.

READ: Cell records may sink alleged mastermind of Tshegofatso Pule’s murder

“It seems to me that the state has not been entirely consistent in its approach to this charge. The evidence it initially led appeared to be setting up a case that Mr Shoba had tampered with the cellphone he handed over to the police when they were investigating Ms Pule disappearance and murder. It was said that there were incriminating WhatsApps deleted from that phone.

“However, these incriminating WhatsApps were never produced. Nor was it proved how Mr Shoba had tampered with the phone or deleted them,” Wilson said.

Shoba was implicated in Pule’s murder after the state secured a guilty plea from the man found guilty of her murder, Muzikayise Malephane in January last year.

Malephane admitted to killing her on the instruction of Shoba. In February last year Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng sentenced him to 20 years in prison for the murder, five years for defeating the ends of justice and five years for possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition.

Judge Wilson also said in his verdict that there was evidence from state witness Tsepiso Tsita, which corroborated Malephane’s version.

READ: Tshegofatso Pule: Why the alleged mastermind will apply to reopen the case

“The state’s first witness, Tsepiso Tsita confirmed that Ms Pule was invited to an interview at a McDonald’s in Ormonde, which is near Gold Reef City. The invitation was sent by SMS to Ms Pule. It purported to be from a woman called Zanele or Zandile, who said she acted on behalf of Kelly Recruitment.

“Ms Tsita saw the SMS message on May 29 2020. Ms Tsita saw further SMS messages from Zanele or Zandile, which told Ms Pule that she should go to the McDonald’s in Ormonde, where a Jeep would be waiting to pick her up. Ms Tsita confirmed that Ms Pule did not go in the end. This, it seems to me, is entirely consistent with Mr Malephane’s account of May 29 2020.”

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