- Muzikayise Malephane was sentenced to 20 years for Tshegofatso Pule’s murder and will be testifying against her former lover who is the alleged mastermind.
- The man was arrested on Thursday and is due to appear in court on Monday on a charge of being an accomplice to her murder.
- Pule’s family said they accepted Malephane’s apology, but that he needed to face the consciences of his actions.
With beads of sweat forming on the head of Muzikayise Malephane, his attorney read to the court the details of the plot that left a pregnant Tshegofatso Pule hanging from a tree in a veld in Durban Deep in June last year.
Shortly after court adjourned, a folded piece of paper with Malephane’s handwriting was given to the Pule family.
Malaphane had penned an apology letter to Pule’s family, who silently wept behind him in the court gallery at the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Friday.
In it, he stated remorse for taking Pule’s life.
“I am writing this letter to share with you what has been on my mind and heart, I stayed awake writing this letter (in) my head and each time I found myself balling up the pages. I couldn’t find the right words to convey how deeply remorseful I am for killing Tshegofatso Pule,” read the letter.
“Somehow saying I am sorry for robbing her of her life and family seems to be (a) small gesture. Every time I thought back to that fateful night I find myself asking (this) question: ‘Why didn’t I just drive away or call for any help or go to the police? I have let down a lot of people and I will do everything in my power to learn from this regrettable doing and face the outcome of what transpired that night. I would like to extend my apologies once again,” it continued.
Pule’s family said that they accepted the apology.
“We discussed it as a family. It’s not up to us to deny him such an apology. We accept his apology, but at the end of the day he has to face the consequences,” said her uncle Tumisang Katake.
The father of three was sentenced to 20 years for Pule’s murder after entering into a plea deal with the State in exchange for testifying against the father of Pule’s unborn child.
Documented in his plea deal, is a ghastly plot, allegedly hatched by Pule’s ex-boyfriend, to stage her suicide in a bid to hide her pregnancy from his wife.
Malephane said he went to school with Pule’s ex-boyfriend and he offered him R70 000 to kill her.
“He told the accused that he intended to hang Ms Pule from a bridge in Maraisburg. His plan was to take her phone and write a suicide message as a WhatsApp status on her phone,” read the plea agreement.
Pule’s family said that this confirmed their suspicions.
“We suspected from the very onset… that the boyfriend has something to do with it even after there was an arrest. We had so many calls on why the boyfriend had not been arrested, but our suspicions were confirmed today,” said Katake.
Muzikayise Malephane, Tshegofatso Pule’s killer penned an apology letter to her family.
News24 Lwandile Bhengu
According to Malephane, on 4 June, the ex-boyfriend called him to fetch Pule from his house and told her he was an Uber driver.
“Ms Pule asked the accused why he was not driving her to her house. The accused told Ms Pule he had to drop off something in the area. The accused stopped the Jeep. It was dark where he stopped. The accused had a firearm hidden in his belt. The accused got out of the Jeep, opened the passenger door, grabbed Ms Pule by her arm and pulled her out of the Jeep. The accused shot Ms Pule once and she fell. The accused believed Ms Pule was dead and put her in the back seat of the Jeep. The accused drove to Durban Deep to a quiet place.
“The accused did not think clearly and still had it in his mind to hang her and make it seem that she committed suicide, although it did not make sense. The accused dragged Ms Pule out of the Jeep, tied the rope around her neck and put her on the tree.”
Katake said he could not understand why he would take someone’s life for R70 000.
“At the same time we are looking at how this thing was planned, the initial planning and the execution of it and from the price range and how much was willing to be paid for the life of a person and an unborn baby to be extinguished from this earth. Why would you want to kill a person for a mere R70 000?” Pule’s uncle added.
After pleading guilty to her murder on Friday, Judge Ratha Mokgoatleng sentenced Malephane to 20 years for murder and five years for defeating the ends of justice, and five years for being in possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition.
Meanwhile, Gauteng police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters told News24 that a 32-year-old man had been arrested at his home in Florida, on the West Rand, on Thursday evening.
He’s expected to appear in the Roodepoort Magistrate’s Court on 22 February.
NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane also told journalists outside the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg that the person, who was known to Pule, was arrested.
News24 is aware of the person’s identity, but cannot reveal it because he had not yet appeared in court. However, it’s understood that he was suspected to be the “mastermind” behind Pule’s murder.