Pule suspect asks to appoint his own lawyer in court

Muzikayise Malephane, 31, the man accused of murdering Tshegofatso Pule, appeared virtually in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday following his first appearance last week.
Muzikayise Malephane, 31, the man accused of murdering Tshegofatso Pule, appeared virtually in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday following his first appearance last week.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

The case against the man accused of killing Tshegofatso Pule has been postponed to next month to allow him to get his own lawyer.

Muzikayise Malephane, 31, appeared virtually in the Roodepoort magistrate’s court on Wednesday following his first appearance last week.

Looking down during the brief appearance, Malephane requested to use his own private lawyer instead of Legal Aid.

In his first appearance, Malephane had opted to use Legal Aid but has since changed his mind. He also chose to abandon his bail application and remain in custody.

Magistrate John Baloyi postponed the matter to July 2, for Malephane to get his own legal representation.

Like in his first appearance, the courtroom had a huge contingent of journalists, some of whom could not even access the inside.

Outside, members of the EFF sang Struggle songs, carrying pictures of Pule and demanding justice. There were also some ANC Women’s League members.

Pule’s body was found stabbed and hanging from a tree in a veld in Roodepoort on June 5.  She was eight months pregnant when she was murdered.

Pule was last seen on Thursday June 4 when she left her home in Soweto to visit her boyfriend. Although her body was found the next day, her family only positively identified her on Monday June 8.

Her gruesome murder shocked the nation and activists against gender-based violence said it was indication that the country’s efforts to end violence against women and children were not having the desired impact.

Malephane was arrested while returning from Mpumalanga on June 15.

A police statement that SowetanLIVE has seen alleged that Malephane confessed to killing Pule and the murder was planned together with another man she knew.

According to the statement, Malephane and the other man had allegedly tried several times to kill her but failed.

The statement further alleged that Malephane was promised an amount of R70,000 for the murder by the other man.

Outside court, Pule’s uncle Tumisang Katake said the public has to be patient and allow the court process to unfold.

 “As much as the public wants justice, we must still let the court function in the manner they should. We need to also allow him to obtain legal representation of his choice…It is his right. I am not of the view that it [requesting to have his own lawyer] is a delaying tactic…Let us just be patient with the justice system.

“It is stressful situation for us as family but it is not as if we were not prepared to travel that journey,” Katake said.

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