The murder trial of the alleged mastermind behind Tshegofatso Pule’s killing on Monday was postponed to 17 January 2022.
The trial against Ntuthuko Shoba was set to finally get underway at the Johannesburg High Court but the case had to be postponed to give Shoba’s lawyers enough time to consult with him.
The defence lodged an application to defer the trial due to difficulties in consulting with him in prison. The state did not oppose the application.
The 32-year-old, who was denied bail for the third time last month, will remain in police custody until the matter is heard next year.
Shoba is facing charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and defeating the ends of justice for his alleged involvement in Pule’s murder in June 2020.
On Monday, the courtroom was packed with Pule’s family, friends and supporters, including Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, who were anticipating the start of the trial.
Pule was eight months pregnant when she was killed by Mzikayise Malephane. She was found stabbed and hanging from a tree in a Roodepoort.
Malephane, who confessed to killing Pule, claimed Shoba hired him to kill Pule.
He is currently serving 20 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to murder in February and turned state witness.
Malephane said he was initially offered R7,000, and then R70,000, to kill Pule.
He revealed how the gruesome murder was executed, saying the plan was to hang Pule to make it look like a suicide.
Although he shot her, he still proceeded to hang her body.
It is alleged Pule was killed because she refused to terminate her pregnancy.