HE WAS dressed in black like all the people who’ve been mourning Tshegofatso Pule’s brutal murder.
Muzikayise Malephane (31) yesterday appeared in court for allegedly killing her.
HE COVERED HIS FACE AND WEPT AS MAGISTRATE JOHN BALOYI ADDRESSED HIM.
“You’re facing a Schedule 6 offence and have the right to seek a legal representative and apply for bail,” said Baloyi.
Malephane told the court he couldn’t afford a lawyer and would apply for legal aid.
“I need legal aid, but I will not be applying for bail,” he said.
Malephane was bust on Monday in a dramatic operation carried out by Hawks officers from head office in Tshwane.
He’s accused of killing Tshegofatso, who was eight months pregnant when she met her brutal death.
The deceased was last seen earlier this month leaving her Meadowlands, Soweto, home and apparently going to visit her boyfriend in Florida, west of Joburg.
Her body was later found hanging from a tree with a stab wound to her left breast in Durban Deep near Roodepoort.
Tshegofatso’s uncle, Tumi Katake, said the arrest came as a relief to the family.
“This is a step in the right direction and I’m happy with the work that the police have done so far.
“We’re still in pain because my niece was due to give birth soon. I really can’t comment much about this case.
“We’ll see how it unfolds, and no, we don’t know who the suspect is or if Tshego knew him,”
Tshepo Bodibe, one of the men who discovered Tshegofatso’s body, said: “The image of her body is still lingering in my mind.
“On that day I was called by a friend from home after finding the body of a woman hanging from a tree.
“At the time we all didn’t know who she was. We started taking pictures of her and posted them on social media to assist her family in identifying her.”
He said they posted her pictures on Facebook and they went viral.
“She was later identified by her family on 8 June, three days after we found her body,” said Bodibe.
He and his neighbours arrived and silently protested outside court by waving their placards.
Malephane is expected back in court on 24 June and proceedings will be held via video link.
According to police sources familiar with the case, Malephane was traced throughout the weekend while in Mpumalanga.
“The guys from national cornered him in Hillbrow along Wolmarans Street. He tried to escape but was finally pinned down in Bruma.
“He was in a car which was full of his clothes and blankets,” said one officer.
“It looks like he was living out of the car since the crime happened so that he could evade arrest.”
Another officer said in his initial statement to the police, the suspect had said he was hired and paid, or promised, R70 000 by someone whose identity is known to Daily Sun.
Said the cop: “There will be another arrest soon. The guys are still working on a few things. They know the person who hired him and will pick him up soon.
“It’s going to be an interesting case if the guy sticks to his initial statement.
“He will heavily implicate the other suspect as being the one who did the stabbing while he will claim he only helped with the rope.
“The suspect told our guys while they were processing him at Jeppe Police Station that he was driving his girlfriend’s Jeep when he went to pick up Tshego from Soweto.”
– Daily Sun