The trial of the alleged mastermind in the murder of Tshegofatso Pule wrapped up with closing arguments.
In the trial of the alleged mastermind in the murder of Tshegofatso Pule, the defence has asked the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg to reject the key State witness’ version, citing a lack of credibility.
“It is not for his lordship to do a cherry-picking exercise to try and find credibility…. the court should reject Malephane’s version altogether,” said advocate Norman Makhubela.
Makhubela submitted his closing arguments in the highly publicised trial on Tuesday, arguing that the nature and character of the witness, Muzikayise Malephane, is well-catalogued in the court.
Malephane is the man who implicated Ntuthuko Shoba as the mastermind behind Pule’s murder on 4 June 2020. Pule was heavily pregnant with Shoba’s child when she was killed and left hanging from a tree in Durban Deep, Roodepoort.
Malephane alleged that he committed the crime on Shoba’s instruction.
Shoba, however, has denied this claim and testified that he merely interacted with Malephane to obtain cigarettes during lockdown.
Acting Judge Stuart Wilson expressed his difficulty with the defence’s submission.
He said, for example, that a witness could give testimony that was true in some parts and untrue in other parts.
However, he added, that did not necessarily render their entire version not credible.
“One must evaluate the evidence carefully, with circumspection, seek corroboration, but one doesn’t cease on a lie that a witness tells and automatically reject the rest of that witness testimony.
“The court is required to analyse Malephane’s testimony and consider whether it is so tainted that it has to be rejected in its entirety [or] where it is not, to decide which parts should be rejected or accepted,” he said.
Makhubela, in response, submitted that even if the court would be inclined to find any credibility in Malephane’s case, there were inherent risks due to his “obsession to having Shoba dealt with”.
“Venturing into an exercise of trying to find credibility is a precarious exercise. Malephane seems to be a great scriptwriter.”
There seems to be more than what is revealed to the court. His conduct is laden with some kind of obsession with having the accused being dealt with and blamed for the killing of Pule,” Makhubela said.
Shoba faces a charge of murder, alternatively conspiracy to commit murder, and one count of defeating the ends of justice. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Judgment is reserved.