Cousin tells court of last phone call with murdered Pule
Slain Tshegofatso Pule's cousin has told the high court how she had asked murder accused Ntuthuko Shoba to be honest about her cousin's whereabouts as he was the last person known to have been with her before she was found dead.
Taking the stand as the second witness in the trial, Palesa Senokoane told the high court in Johannesburg that Pule had called her on the Thursday night before her disappearance at around 9pm.
“When I was speaking with her [on June 4 2020], Shoba was in the background and I said she must greet him. She also confirmed when I was speaking with her that she is at Shoba’s place in Florida,” Senokoane said.
Senokoane said while Pule had promised to inform her when she got home later that day, she did not and her phone rang unanswered on June 5 and again the next day.
“I called her again and after the third attempt, the phone was switched off on Saturday and I called Shoba to ask him about her whereabouts before heading to the police to open a case of a missing person.
"I called him on Sunday in the morning and asked where Pule is because the last time I spoke to her, she was with him. He said he does not know and he sounded a bit worried.
"Because I was in a car, I said I would call him again. I called him again when I got home and asked him about Tshegofatso. He said he does not know and I told him that I hope he was not lying to me," she told the court.
Senokoane also admitted that while Shoba had been partly responsible for Pule financially during her pregnancy, the two had an “on-and-off” relationship and that Shoba had been showing a lack of interest in the affair as he was only limiting his role to financial support relating to the pregnancy.
Pule was in June 2020 found hanging from a tree with multiple stab wounds. She was eight months pregnant with Shoba’s child.
Shoba has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and defeating the ends of justice.
Through his lawyers, Shoba has told the court that Pule had left his home the same night as she was not happy that Shoba’s wife, Rosetta Moatshe, called repeatedly while they were together, which made her unhappy and that she had rejected Shoba’s offer to give her a lift to Dobsonville, Soweto, where she and Senokoane stayed.
Defence lawyer for Shoba, Norman Makhubela, pointed out during re-examination that Pule and Shoba were not on good terms and that the only bond combining them had been the baby that was on the way.
Makhubela also moved to pour cold water on the evidence by Senokoane that Shoba had not called to ask about Pule’s whereabouts until she was found dead four days later.
Makhubela pointed out, and Senokoane admitted, that Shoba had never called her previously to ask about Pule despite the fact that he had from time to time used her contact number to send money for Pule.
Pule's murderer Muzikayise Malephane, who pleaded guilty and turned state witness, is serving a 20-year sentence.
He is expected to take the stand and testify against Shoba.
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