Convicted murderer Ntuthuko Shoba is expected to know his fate on Friday, when the Johannesburg High Court hands down the sentence in his murder trial.
Earlier this year, in March, Shoba was found guilty of premeditated murder for masterminding the killing of his then eight-month pregnant girlfriend Tshegofatso Pule, two years ago.
Pule’s murder sent shockwaves in the country after she was found stabbed and hanged from a tree in Roodepoort, west of Johannesburg, on 4 June 2020.
Acting Judge Stuart Wilson on Thursday heard sentencing arguments from the state and defence, after the trial was postponed in May, due to an incomplete pre-sentencing report.
The state asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence against the former JSE analyst.
The defence, on the other hand, appealed for leniency and asked that Shoba be given the same sentence as self-confessed gunman, Muzikayise Malephane.
@thecitizen_news A small crowd of anti-GBV protestors outside Tshegofatso Pule’s killer Ntuthuko Shobas sentencing at the Johannesburg High Court, 28 July 2022. Video- Neil McCartney #GBV #thecitizen #shoba #pulemurder #foryourpage #fup ♬ News, news, seriousness, tension(1077866) – Lyrebirds music
Malephane, who turned state witness, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in February 2021. He told the murder trial that Shoba hired him to kill Pule because he did not want the woman he regarded as his wife to find out about Pule’s pregnancy.
Defence lawyer Norman Makhubela argued that Shoba should receive the same sentence as Malephane for the sake of “parity”, even though Malephane confessed to the murder and turned state witness.
Makhubela asked the court to overlook the fact that Shoba had not expressed remorse for orchestrating Pule’s murder. He also said that the commission of the crime by Shoba appeared to be out of character.
Innocence and remorse
In arguing for aggravation of sentence, the state contended that Shoba still maintained his innocence and had not expressed remorse for the offence.
The state further argued that he planned Pule’s murder over a long period of time and he hired Malephane to kill her.
Social worker Jessie Thompson also testified on Shoba’s pre-sentencing report, however, the state raised the issue that the psychologist who assessed him was not interviewed by Thompson.
Call for double life sentence
Meanwhile, Pule’s family and activists against gender-based violence called for the court to impose a life sentence against Shoba.
The spokesperson for the Tshegofatso Pule Foundation, Botlhale Modisane, said they were demanding two life sentences.
“We’re calling for a double life sentence because two lives were taken away from us. It’s not just about Tshegofatso, but also about Kamano [Pule’s unborn child’s name].
“We’re hoping that the judge will come down hard on Ntuthuko Shoba for what he has done, for being the mastermind behind the murder,” Modisane said.