Ntuthuko Shoba, a convicted murderer, was given a life term in prison for the killing of Tshegofatso Pule.
The offense was one of the worst he had ever seen, said acting judge Stuart Wilson on Friday at the Joburg High Court.
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“A contract killing that exploited the dependency of a young woman and the death of an unborn baby. Shoba attempted to kill Pule at least twice. It’s clear that Shoba was the prime mover in bringing her death. Pule’s killer was hired by Shoba. Pule was vivacious but she was vulnerable.
“Her vulnerability was emotional and material. As her pregnancy progressed she relied financially on Shoba. Shoba wanted to get rid of them because they were an inconvenience,” said Wilson.
Wilson supported his assessment by stating that the trial’s evidence strongly suggested Shoba planned and took part in Pule’s death.
Shoba was scheduled to get a sentence on Thursday, but Wilson decided to delay it due to contentious pre-sentence discussions.
On Thursday, Shoba’s defense attorney, Norman Makhubele, argued that a 20-year prison term would be more fitting than a life sentence.
Wilson contends that Shoba is not deserving of the compassion shown to his hitman, Muzikayise Malephane, who is presently serving a 20-year sentence.
He said: “Malephane [the killer] was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Shoba’s lawyers argued that Shoba should get the same. Shoba’s role as the prime mover in commissioning the offense makes his situation different. Shoba would have carried on looking for a way to kill Pule with or without Malephane.
“You will spend the rest of your natural life in prison,” concluded Wilson.
In 2020, the 28-year-old Pule, who was eight months pregnant, was discovered hanging from a tree in Roodepoort, Johannesburg.
Malephane confessed to the killing and became a state witness.
Malephane acknowledged that his willingness to join the plot to murder Pule was motivated by avarice.
He claimed that R70,000 had been promised to him in exchange for the murder.
Following the devastating accusations, Shoba was taken into custody in February 2021.