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Witness says Shoba kept calling Pule's killer on day of her murder

He returned to the dock on Monday at the Johannesburg high court as the state brought in more witnesses as it tries to prove that he had orchestrated the killing of his then heavily pregnant girlfriend

Siviwe Feketha Political reporter
Muzi Khumalo, a close friend of Muzikayise Malephane, testifying in court.
Muzi Khumalo, a close friend of Muzikayise Malephane, testifying in court.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

The murder trial of the alleged mastermind behind the killing of Tshegofatso Pule has heard how he allegedly called her convicted killer incessantly on the day she was abducted and killed.

Ntuthuko Shoba returned to the dock on Monday at the Johannesburg high court as the state brought in more witnesses as it tries to prove that he had orchestrated the killing of his then heavily pregnant girlfriend, Pule, who was found hanging from a tree in Roodepoort in June 2020.

Last week, Muzikayise Malephane, who admitted to killing Pule after being allegedly contracted by Shoba, took the stand as a state witness and gave details of how he shot her dead before looking for a place to hang her on June 4.

Shoba has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and defeating the ends of justice.

The state called another witness, Muzi Khumalo, who is friends with Malephane and who was with him hours before Pule was killed.

Khumalo testified that Malephane had on the day been bombarded by endless “irritating” calls which he seemed reluctant to answer.

“The calls were irritating because the phone would not stop ringing.

“The phone would ring and stop and ring and stop and ring. It looked like it was from the same number. It would ring and wait for a minute. He finally picked it up and said “ngyazwakala” [I'm coming]," Khumalo said.

January 26 2022 Ntuthuko Shoba the former boyfriend of Tshegofatso Pule appears at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.
January 26 2022 Ntuthuko Shoba the former boyfriend of Tshegofatso Pule appears at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

Khumalo said when he and  his friends went out of the house to go and order more of the alcohol they had been drinking, they found Malephane next to Shoba's car outside.

The state is expected to bring in experts who will testify on the cellphone records  aimed at proving communication between  Shoba and Malephane on June 4.

Shoba's lawyer Adv Norman Makhubela questioned Khumalo on how he had been able to boldly recall and write Shoba's vehicle number plate despite never having seen his car before it visited Malephane's home on the day of Pule's killing.

Khumalo said while he had been curious about Shoba's visit, he did not know why he had managed to remember the number plate of his vehicle in full. “I can't say. I looked at the number plate, I saw the number plate, and I recalled the number plate,” Khumalo said.

Makhubela pointed out in court that Malephane had claimed to have been selling illicit alcohol and cigarettes during lockdown and that Khumalo could not dispute that Shoba had visited Malephane to buy cigarettes.

Khumalo said while he could not dispute this, he had not known Malephane to be trading in alcohol at the time, which is why they had left his house to buy alcohol elsewhere.

He said Malephane's source of income was from stealing cars.

Police expert warrant officer Andries van Tonder is expected to take the stand to give testimony on the cellphone records relating to Pule, Shoba and Malephane on Tuesday.

While Van Tonder had already begun his testimony Monday afternoon, some of the evidence led by prosecutor Faghre Mohammed was challenged by Makhubela, including the confirmation of the scope of the radius of cellphone towers.

This would be used to establish the whereabouts of those who are involved in the case. Makhubela said while the defence would allow the police evidence to be led, it will have to be subject to the confirmation of its legitimacy by network providers

The trial continues.

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