Tshegofatso Pule murder: Shoba claims innocence, fears for his life My client is not of a violent nature – Ntuthuko Shoba’s lawyer
The lawyer of the accused, seeking R2,000 bail, says death threats are circulating on social media and in prison corridors
Shoba who claims he is not married with no minor children denied hiring anyone to commit murder
Defense attorney told the court i the state had “prejudged” the matter and concluded his client had been found guilty
The defense is seeking bail bond of $134 for their client
The prosecution is requesting denial of the bail because Shoba’s defense did no not present a credible case for bail on self-corgnition
Decision on bail hearing is scheduled for Friday
Ntuthuko Ntokozo Shoba, 32, the alleged mastermind in the murder of Tshegofatso Pule, last year in a surburb of Johannesburg, South Africa, fears for his safety after receiving death threats.
Ntuthuko Ntokozo Shoba was arrested on Thursday after a friend testified in a plea agreement that he had been hired to kill the pregnant woman.
Until Monday morning, Tshegofatso Pule’s family had only known her boyfriend, Ntuthuko Ntokozo Shoba, “from a distance”.
But that day, when he made his first court appearance, they came face to face with the 32-year-old accused of masterminding her murder in June of 2020.
At sentencing for her killer last month, the family had said: “We no longer have suspicions, we have facts,” after hearing Muzikaiyse Malephane describe the gruesome details, as a condition of his plea agreement.
It “It hurts to know what she went through, it hurts to hear it and know it is a fact, but this is what we wanted,” Pules’s uncle, Tumisang Katake, Pule’s uncle, said.
Now seeking closure as much as justice those family members were in court to watch Shoba’s trial for soliciting homicide.
Pleading for his client’s release on bail fo the duration of the trial Shoba’s defense attorney, Luyanda Nyangiwa, told the Roodepoort magistrate’s court on Monday that a number of voice notes threatening Shoba’s life were in circulation.
The threats against his client were also made in the corridors at the prison where Shoba was being held, Nyangiwa said.
The instructions to have Shoba killed, Nyangiwa alleges, originated with Muzikayise Malephane, the man already convicted in the killing of Pule, who in his plea bargain revealed that he was hired by Shoba.
Pule was eight months pregnant at the time of the murder, last June and Shoba was the unborn child’s father, according to charging documents.
“There is a real security issue that we are dealing with,” Nyangiwa told the court, which was hearing Shoba’s request to be released on bail after his arrest late last week.
Ntuthuko Ntokozo Shoba appeared in court on Monday for his bail hearing
Nyangiwa asked the court to ensure that Shoba’s home address and his employment not be read out in court.
Two weeks ago, Muzikayise Malephane was sentenced 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. However, before his sentencing, Malephane testified that he had been offered $4,676 [R70,000] by chilhood friend Ntuthuko Shoba to kill Pule.
Shoba has denied contracting anyone to harm Pule, through his attorney.
Setting out his personal circumstances, Shoba in his affidavit described himself as a college educated 32-year-old male born in Gauteng, South Arica. A lightly travelled man, he has no assets or family living outside South Africa. Adding that he was unmarried, with no minor children with a monthly income of $2,405 [R36,000] per month. He has no pending cases or previous convictions, the affidavit states.
Shoba claims he was not a danger to society and would not evade trial.
“Despite receiving several death threats from the community, I have handed over all the information in this matter,” he said as he requested bail
of $134 [R2,000], while on trial for murder.
The prosecution led by Paseka Temeki told the court that the the victim
Tshegofatso Pule was found barefoot and tied to a tree with a rope tied around her neck in a veld in Durban Deep, Roodepoort.
The investigation led by Capt. Mpete said there was objective evidence that corroborated the allegations Malephane submitted and that there were cellphone records obtained from relevant network companies.
Mpete said there were also statements obtained from witnesses that corroborated the cellphone records. With video footage showing Shoba accompanying Pule to the Jeep that picked her up. The driver was identified as Malephane.
“I am thus submitting that I have profiled the accused and found that he has positive identification.
“I am opposing bail being granted to Mr Shoba as he might abscond now that he is aware of the serious nature of the charges he is facing.
“I have consulted with witnesses and they have indicated to me that should bail be granted to Mr Shoba, they won’t be able to come testify for fear of being targeted and possibly attacked or even killed as many of them are known to the accused as well as their addresses.
“The gruesome manner in which the deceased was murdered outraged the South African population and it is still a matter of national interest.”
Responding, defense attorney Nyangiwa told the court it appeared that the state had “prejudged” the matter and concluded his client had been found guilty.
Arguing for his client’s release on bail, Nyangiwa said Shoba would hand over his passport and would not move to an unknown address.
To dispel fears of potential witness intimidation, Nyangiwa told the court that Shoba did not know the witnesses and would not endanger their lives.
“My client is not of a violent nature … He is employed and doesn’t want to jeopardise his future by going and attacking other people, that is not in his nature,” adding that the defendant wanted the matter finalized and had been co-operating with the state from the beginning.
He submitted that Shoba was at greater risk in custody than outside prison.
“There is a real fear that my client has, that the longer he stays in prison, the more his life would be at risk.”
In response, Temeki argued the community was outraged over the case and that “even President Cyril Ramaphosa knows about the matter”.
“This court is full, the community is outraged. It is one of those matters that left the whole country outraged, that how could it happen to a defenseless woman who was pregnant at that stage.”
The defense failed to provide exceptional circumstances to warrant Shoba’s release on bail, Temeki said.
Temeki submitted that the state had a strong case against Shoba and requested that he be denied bail.
The decision on the bail application is scheduled for Friday.