High court turns down Shoba’s plea to appeal life sentence

Convicted murderer Ntuthuko Shoba’s leave to appeal his life sentence has been denied at the high court in Johannesburg.

Judge Stuart Wilson said on Monday that the arguments brought by Shoba’s lawyers do not show that an appeal court could come to a different conclusion.

“There is no sufficiently compelling reason to grant leave to appeal. Granting it would be judicial vanity,” Wilson said.

Shoba is currently serving a life term for orchestrating the murder of his then-girlfriend Tshegofatso Pule in 2020. He was found guilty of masterminding Pule’s murder by hiring a hitman to get rid of her.

Tshegofatso Pule was found hanging from tree with stab wounds to her chest. Picture: Twitter

At the time of her death, Pule was eight months pregnant with Shoba’s child. The heavily pregnant Pule, then 28, was found hanging from a tree in Durban Deep in Roodepoort, Johannesburg in 2020.

Before his sentencing, defence lawyer Norman Makhubele argued that Shoba should not be subjected to a life sentence, suggesting that a 20-year jail sentence would be appropriate.

However, Wilson said Shoba did not deserve the leniency that was granted to the hitman, Muzikayise Malephane, who is currently serving 20 years in jail.

When Malephane confessed to killing Pule, he said that Shoba had promised him R70 000. He turned into a state witness and entered into a plea agreement.

He told the court: “He [Shoba] first offered me R7 000. He raised it to 20 000. I told him the money was too small, then he raised it to R70 000 and we came to an agreement.”

Wilson said the offence was one of the worst he had come across.

“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.

Substantiating his judgment, he said the evidence overwhelmingly pointed that Shoba planned and participated in Pule’s demise.

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