Ntuthuko Shoba’s second bail bid in the Roodepoort magistrate’s court this week showed the man accused of murdering his pregnant lover, Tshegofatso Pule, as a person very unhappy at the prospect of becoming a father.
Shoba has previously applied for bail with no success. The matter continues tomorrow for his defence to argue their case.
During an intense court session on Thursday morning, the packed court gallery heard from the state how Shoba never fulfilled promises to take Pule to antenatal care, how he was absent and always made excuses that he had to work and how he was not happy at the prospect of being a father, as he wanted the court to believe.
While responding to Shoba’s affidavit after his last court appearance on April 6, state prosecutor Paseka Temeki told the court that Pule was left to face the pregnancy on her own and was repeatedly left disappointed by Shoba. He made reference to WhatsApp exchanges between the two. The state also revealed that this was the second time Pule had been pregnant by Shoba, after the previous pregnancy was aborted. The 28-year-old Pule, who was eight months pregnant, was killed in June 2020, with her body found suspended from a tree. Shoba was arrested in February after the first accused in her murder, Muzikayise Malephane, entered into a plea agreement with the state. Now serving a 20-year prison term, he alleged he was hired to kill Pule because Shoba feared his wife would find out about Pule’s pregnancy.
A series of messages between Pule and Shoba showed that he did not care about her wellbeing or the imminent birth of their baby, the state said in opposing bail.
Temeki told the court that Pule always initiated the conversation and pleaded with Shoba for support.
In a message sent by Pule to Shoba on February 3 last year, she said they needed to talk. Two days later, on February 5, she wrote to Shoba: “We have a situation that needs to be dealt with … I need your support … Time is not on our side cos I want to start going for my check-ups. I don’t want to risk [the pregnancy].
“I’m in a [fragile] state.”
Pule told Shoba that she was stressed and that she had not chosen to be pregnant “twice with your child”.
“I know you don’t want this child but I was not going to live with myself gore [sic] I aborted a child ka three months [sic]. I’m not that evil … I just felt God was going to punish me for doing that. And to think it was not my first time doing it.
“Sorry for ruining your plans of life — I did not mean to.”
At the time she was four months pregnant and had not seen a doctor.
Shoba told Pule he was “getting tired of this” and his patience was running out: “You are getting frustrated cos you are forcing yourself to be here. It’s not natural.”
Finally, on February 25, Pule was able to see a doctor.
In a statement, investigating officer Bongani Gerald Mpete said he had obtained cellphone records indicating that Shoba had made several calls from an unregistered sim card to Malephane prior to Pule’s murder.
On May 29 Shoba called Malephane 11 times. According to records, on June 4, when Pule went missing, Shoba contacted Malephane 23 times with the unregistered sim card.
“It is common cause that the deceased was at the applicant’s residence that day.
“The data indicates that before the arrival of the deceased at his residence, the applicant communicated with Mr Malephane 11 times and the last time being 14 minutes before her arrival,” Mpete said.
The court also heard that on June 5, the day after Pule was murdered, Shoba texted her pretending to be worried about her wellbeing.
At his previous court appearance, Shoba said Malephane may have been the baby’s father. This information, he said, was given to him by a fellow awaiting-trial inmate at the Krugersdorp Correctional Centre.
However, Mpete said claims that Malephane was dating Pule were “fictitious”.
– Sunday Times