The Tshegofatso Pule murder trial at the South Gauteng High Court had to be adjourned earlier than anticipated to enable the defence team to discuss a cellphone expert’s testimony. Ntuthuko Shoba is accused of being the mastermind behind Pule’s murder.
She was eight months pregnant at the time.
Cellphone expert Warrant Officer Andries van Tonder explained that Pule’s phone was traced to the Florida area, west of Johannesburg before she was murdered.
Van Tonder told the court that they were able to trace Pule’s phone to the Florida area on 4 June 2020, the night she died.
Shoba resided in Florida.
Van Tonder says they were also able to map phones used by Shoba and convicted killer Muzi Malepane.
Evidence of an unregistered number used to call Malepane on several occasions prior to the murder is being disputed by Shoba’s legal team. The cellphone signal towers picked up that the unregistered number was in the same vicinity as Shoba’s registered number.
In the video below, convicted killer Muzi Malepane admits to being paid R70 000 for the hit:
Defence lawyer Norman Makhubela asked for an adjournment so they can scrutinise Van Tonder’s evidence before cross-examination.
Pule’s family disappointed by the postponement
The Pule family has expressed disappointment at this delay mid-trial.
Family Spokesperson Tumisang Katake says the defence had sufficient time to prepare.
“The delay as a family, we never saw that coming. I anticipated that we will proceed until the last day of the trial because from where I am when the disclosure was made, they had all the time to prepare for anything. On the first week of the trial, they also expressed that they needed to extract phone records using their own experts. From that moment, they could consult with their expert. But also, we can’t run the risk of not giving them a fair trial. It’s still within his rights to verify the information of what was said in court.”
Katane says it has not been easy for them to listen to shocking evidence of how Pule died.
“It’s been difficult. I think the worst day was when there were revelations of how Tshego was killed; how everything was planned and how she was shot. That information, we only heard about it the first time in court. Even the graphic details were not there in Malepane’s plea statement. It’s not easy to hear how anyone close to you was killed. But yes, we see where we are going and I think the case is shaping up.”
Cross-examination of the cellphone expert is expected to continue on Wednesday.