Seeing him opened wounds that were starting to heal, says Tshegofatso Pule’s family as her ex-lover appears in court
Johannesburg - It was a bittersweet moment for slain Tshegofatso Pule's family to see the alleged mastermind of her gruesome death by hanging eight months ago, taking to the dock.
Ntuthuko Ntokozo Shoba, a 32-year-old JSE analyst, made a brief appearance at the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court on Monday. He faces charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and defeating the ends of justice.
Clad in black, Shoba kept a confident and calm figure in the dock. He posed for the media cameras without any qualms.
The developments were "a sense of relief yes; for his arrest", said Pule's uncle Tumisang Katake.
But he said they also meant emotional scars were being opened afresh.
"It's reopening of old wounds that were beginning to heal," Katake told the media after the brief proceedings.
"This one is worse because we've long had our suspicions and they were confirmed on Friday."
The suspicions Katake referred to were that Shoba, who was the boyfriend of the 28-year-old pregnant Pule, masterminded her killing.
This narrative started milling around after a community member discovered Pule's lifeless body hanging in the veld in Durban Deep in Roodepoort.
She had gone missing after an "e-hailing" vehicle collected her from Shoba's Florida apartment.
Muzikayise Malephane, the Soweto man who hanged Pule revealed in a plea bargain statement last Friday that he drove the car.
This was part of his conspiracy with Shoba to kill the eight-months pregnant Pule, he said.
Malephane told the State Shoba wanted Pule dead because he did not want his wife to find out about her pregnancy.
Shoba forked out R70 000 to have Pule killed, according to Malephane and what was now the State's evidence.
As part of the plea, Malephane was sentenced to a 20-year jail term.
Without the plea, he faced being found guilty of premeditated murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Malephane could be out on parole in 10 years, whereas if he was sentenced to life he would only be free in 25 years.
Shoba was arrested following Malephane's plea and sentencing.
Katake said: "The family is still in tatters emotionally and psychologically because of what transpired on Friday.
"I'm not sure how they will handle this one going forward. I can only hope that we recover as time goes on.
"It's going to be a difficult journey again for us."
Katake, a lawyer by profession, said the family looked forward to get to the bottom of what drove Shoba to the alleged and heinous crime.
"At this point in time, those are still allegations against him. But we really don't know what could have driven him to commit such an offence besides the pregnancy of Tshegofatso," he said.
He revealed that Pule mentioned dating Shoba.
"We knew that they were dating. As to what type of a relationship they had, I don't know.
"But she never reported any forms of violence against him. She never reported any form of intimidation from the guy," he said.
Shoba's formal bail application will be heard next week Monday. He will remain in custody.
Phindi Mjonondwane, south Gauteng spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority, told journalists the State will oppose Shoba's bail application.
"The instruction is that the prosecutor should oppose bail on the March 1," she said.
Pule's family hoped bail would be denied. Katake said the NPA and police assured the family bail would be opposed.
"I can only hope that it (the opposition) becomes successful."