Threats, a bizarre job offer: friend tells of Tshegofatso Pule’s last weeks alive

2022-01-24 11:25:00 PM

Court hears that the soon to be murdered woman felt abandoned by the father of her unborn child

Court hears that the soon to be murdered woman felt abandoned by the father of her unborn child

Court hears that the soon to be murdered woman felt abandoned by the father of her unborn child

SENSELESSTshegofatso Pule was eight months pregnant when she was found hanging from a tree. Her boyfriend, Ntuthuko Shoba is currently on trial for her murder.Image:SuppliedThreatening messages, feelings of abandonment and a dodgy job offer are some of the things that slain Tshegofatso Pule went through before her death, the high court in Johannesburg heard on Monday.

Taking to the stand clad in a large sun hat, dark glasses and a mask in a bid to conceal her identity from the press, Pule’s friend Tshepiso Tsita agreed to take off her disguise after the court assured her that her face would not be published by the media .

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24 January 2022 - 17:29 SENSELESS Tshegofatso Pule was eight months pregnant when she was found hanging from a tree.Daniel Mthimkhulu , who allegedly committed a litany of corruption at the parastatal.23 January 2022 - 16:30 Bekezela Phakathi An association which represents businesses involved in the collection and processing of scrap metal has launched a court application to challenge the government’s decision to continue with regulations forcing industry players to sell at a discount locally while an export tax has been introduced.The former chief justice has 10 days to decide 23 January 2022 - 00:00 By Franny Rabkin Former chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has until February 3 to decide whether he will unconditionally apologise for becoming involved in political controversy or go to court to review the decision that he is guilty of misconduct.

Her boyfriend, Ntuthuko Shoba is currently on trial for her murder. Image: Supplied Threatening messages, feelings of abandonment and a dodgy job offer are some of the things that slain Tshegofatso Pule went through before her death, the high court in Johannesburg heard on Monday. Montana resigned from Prasa in July 2015 after a series of Beeld newspaper reports that the state-owned company had spent R2. Taking to the stand clad in a large sun hat, dark glasses and a mask in a bid to conceal her identity from the press, Pule’s friend Tshepiso Tsita agreed to take off her disguise after the court assured her that her face would not be published by the media .. She was testifying in the trial of Ntuthuko Shoba — Pule’s alleged boyfriend-  who is accused of murdering or conspiring to kill her. Mthimkhulu was the head engineer during the acquisition of the allegedly faulty locomotives. Pule was heavily pregnant at the time of her murder. This article is reserved for Sunday Times subscribers.

Tsita told the court that, as far as she was aware, Shoba first dated her cousin but later learnt that he was dating Pule. Mthimkhulu, who was Prasa’s head of engineering services from April 2010 to August 2015, is facing nine counts of fraud for allegedly forging an offer letter from German engineering firm DB Schenker to “unlawfully” hike his annual salary from R1. Already subscribed? Simply sign in below. Tshegofatso started getting threatening messages from a woman, threats that she [the woman] would come to her workplace. The threats were that she should leave [this woman’s] man alone.8-million. Tshegofatso Pule’s friend Tshepiso Tsita Tsita and Pule were childhood friends who lived within walking distance of each other. So close were the two that Pule would share the messages between herself and Shoba with Tsita, and Shoba would also use Tsita’s number to send Pule cash.  The former Prasa executive has pleaded not guilty.

Tsita conceded that Pule was financially dependent on Shoba after resigning from her job as a makeup artist several months earlier. Tsita recalled how, among other things, Pule shared with her some disturbing messages she received.  The charge sheet added that the accused fraudster “demanded” that he be known as “Dr Mthimkhulu, and/or that in all correspondence addressed to him, the title Dr Mthimkhulu be used”. “Tshegofatso started getting threatening messages from a woman; threats that she [the woman] would come to her workplace. The threats were that she should leave [this woman’s] man alone.  “The accused [Mthimkhulu] is not and has never been a member of the South African Institution of Mechanical Engineering and/or the Engineering Council of South Africa. She said she would come to her workplace and deal with her.

She said she is HIV positive and that Tshegofatso must go get tested.  Mthimkhulu had “unlawfully and with the intention to defraud Prasa” stated that he was a member of the country’s engineering regulatory bodies; that he had a membership number, which is known to the Mail & Guardian ; and that he was “duly paying his membership subscription fees”. “Tshegofatso then blocked the number,” Tsita said. Tsita said that on May 29 2020 — a week before Pule’s death — in the middle of SA’s hard Covid-19 lockdown, Pule got a strange offer for a makeup job.”  According to the state, because of the alleged forged academic qualifications, Mthimkhulu’s annual salary exponentially rose from R64 530 when he first began at Prasa as an engineering technician in July 2000, to R2. The job was to allow the heavily pregnant mother to work from home. She said that a woman — named either Zanele or Zandile — sent a message asking for an interview for around 11am or midday at the McDonald’s in Ormonde.  Mthimkhulu received his R2.

“She was to be there for two hours,” said Tsita. “Tshego didn’t go.  But Montana, who signed off on the “counter offer” to retain Mthimkhulu’s services, said the offer the accused received was, in fact, from another German mechanical engineering firm, PTEC Pressure Technology, and not from DB Schenker. I said to her that its strange that an interview is being held at McDonald’s during lockdown. No sit-ins were allowed.  Montana added that it was not his responsibility to check the authenticity of an external offer letter, but that he would make a decision on whether to retain an employee based only on a prepared memorandum motivating for the “skill to be retained”.” On the day of the proposed interview, the person again texted Pule, saying she was running late.

The person said Pule should instead wait opposite the McDonald’s where a Jeep would be waiting for her and the driver was already there, Tsita testified. They [human resources] call the company [and] write emails to confirm that the letter is true,” Montana testified. Pule did not go, she reiterated. .  “After applying my mind, I was satisfied that the decision to retain Mthimkhulu was the right one,” emphasised Montana.