No activity on Tshegofatso Pule’s cell phone for about three hours on night she died: Expert

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A cell phone expert says there was no activity on Tshegofatso Pule’s phone for about three hours on the night she died. Warrant Officer Andries van Tonder was testifying as a state witness about cell phone records in the South Gauteng High Court. Ntuthuko Shoba, who is said to be the mastermind, is on trial for Pule’s murder.

Brian Watson, a trustee from the residential complex in Florida where Shoba resides, was the first to testify. He says he provided Shoba and investigating officers with CCTV footage that shows Pule leaving the complex at 22: 06 on  4 June 2020.

“Shoba approached me and asked me for a copy of the footage on the 7th and 8th June 2020. He said a friend of his disappeared and the police wanted to view the footage. We went to view the footage and the two people investigating missing persons. On Monday morning, he phoned me and asked for a copy. Cameras do not record passing cars or pedestrians, the only motion of the gate and inside the gate.”

The footage confirms Pule was picked up by a silver-grey Jeep that convicted murderer Muzi Malepane said he was driving. Malepane’s childhood friend Muzi Khumalo was also called to the stand.

He says he was with Malepane the day of the fateful incident, when Shoba arrived in a Polo, to see Malepane.

Malepane admits that he was offered R70 000 to murder Tshegofatso Pule:

Defence lawyer, Norman Makhubela alleges Shoba was there to buy cigarettes from Malepane as they were not sold at shops during the hard lockdown. However, Khumalo says Malepane was not involved in any other illegal activities except, stealing cars.

“I remember his phone constantly ringing. Muzi Malepane’s phone. He ignored the call. And, he finally decided to answer the call. He stood up and went out. We were running out of beverages, he decided to go out and top up. That’s when we decided to go out as well. He was standing next to a Polo. We stopped next to the car he was standing next to, and we just told him we are going to go buy more beverages. I have no knowledge of him selling because we got beverages at the same place in Zondi. He steals cars for a living.”

Meanwhile, the state called cell phone expert, Andries van Tonder, to testify about the cell phone records. Van Tonder says the last SMS on Pule’s phone was at 18:42 and that cell phone mapping shows she was in Florida, west of Johannesburg, at that time. However, he says there was no data usage from her handset from 18:44 to 22:17. Van Tonder is expected back on the stand on Tuesday.