A series of messages between Tshegofatso Pule and the man accused of her murder, Ntuthuko Shoba, showed that he was absent, did not care about Pule’s well-being or the imminent birth of their baby.
This is according to the state, which also revealed this was the second time Pule had been pregnant with Shoba’s child.
The previous pregnancy was aborted.
Shoba appeared in the Roodepoort magistrate's court on Thursday, for the state's response to his second application for bail.
The 28-year-old Pule, who was eight months pregnant, was killed in June 2020, with her body found hanging from a tree.
Shoba was arrested in February after the first person accused of the crime,Mzukayise Malephane, entered into a plea agreement with the state. Now serving a 20-year jail term, he alleged that he had been hired to kill Pule because Shoba feared his "wife" would find out about Pule's pregnancy.
Shoba has previously applied for bail, but was unsuccessful. At the time, magistrate Delize Smith said he had "not shown that he will stand trial".
Responding to Shoba’s affidavit after his last court appearance on April 6, state prosecutor Paseka Temeki told the court that Pule was left to face the pregnancy on her own and was repeatedly left disappointed by Shoba.
During court proceedings, Shoba, who was clad all in black, took notes in the dock while Temeki was reading his responding statement. Temeki told the court that Shoba:
- was absent and always made excuses that he had to work;
- had not gone to one doctor’s appointment with Pule and always used Uber to ferry her to where she needed to go instead of accompanying her;
- was not happy at the prospect of being a father, as he wanted the court to believe; and
- had not paid for various medical expenses, antenatal vitamins and antenatal care, as he wanted the court to believe.
He said most of the communication between the two was initiated by Pule.
WhatsApp messages between Shoba and Pule also painted a different picture of their relationship, revealing that the young woman did not trust her boyfriend and feared that he would do anything to not become a father.
The State has accused Shoba of deceiving the court after presenting cellphone records to the court.
Shoba has maintained his innocence and intends pleading not guilty when the matter goes to trial.
The matter has been postponed to April 26.