Tshegofatso Pule’s family thought it was all over when the man who orchestrated her death was sentenced to life in prison in July.
But they had to show up again when the man Ntuthuko Shoba applied for leave to appeal his sentence at the High Court in Johannesburg.
It was denied, with acting Judge Stuart Wilson stating that there were no chances of success in a different court.
Shoba is the mastermind behind the murder of a pregnant Tshegofatso Pule whose body was found hanging in the tree at Durban Deep in Roodepoort.
Her family says four days after they found Pule’s body, they started to fight for justice.
It took two years for Shoba, who was Pule’s boyfriend, to get the sentence that they say he deserves for killing their child.
But now that they are focusing on healing, they have to deal with this, says Tshegofatso’s uncle, Tumi Katake.
“At the time of his sentencing, it was two full years and a month after the incident happened, which was traumatic for us as a family. We didn’t even have time to mourn Tshego because she was buried on 11 June 2020, and four days after we had to start the journey of attending court back and forth. None of us has had the chance to sit back and reflect on what has happened and to remember Tshego, the way that everyone would like to remember her,” he says.
He speaks to Drum a day after Shoba's application was denied. He says even though Shoba was not in court, the proceedings will always trigger those feelings that they thought they have dealt with.
"The traumatic experience of having to go to court and to listen to every little detail that was said before the sentencing, we are now again subjected to the same trauma," he says.
He says going back to court evoked a lot of emotions from the family, they were still seeking professional help to deal with their loss, and he was still catching up with work because he put everything on hold to focus on the case.
“This is the type of person who was prepared to fight with everything that he has. There were three bail hearings, and all of them were denied. He threw everything that he had that was available within his vicinity to fight. The moment he was sentenced to life, we expected that he would be coming back again to fight.”
There were things said during the trial that caused the family so much pain as they learned how Tshegofatso met Muzi Malepane - who was contracted to kill Tshego and Shoba was the one who drove Tshego to meet up with Muzi.
He says when Shoba’s lawyer mentioned the story of cigarettes, as Shoba said the only deal he had made with Muzi was just to get cigarettes because, during the hard lockdown, cigarettes were banned.
“The story of cigarettes resurfaced again as one of the grounds of appeal that the court should consider that story. And the court covered that story from all angles when Mr Shoba was convicted. Another thing that resurfaced was the disputing of the video of him accompanying Tshegofatso when she was going to be collected by Mr Malepane. He indicated to the court that he did not see who collected Tshegofatso at that time. The court rejected that story,” he says.
He says they were vindicated when they learned that he has applied for leave to appeal and it was denied.
"You see that this is the person who is still prepared to fight but it is at the expense of our grieving, and psychological trauma that we have experienced in the past two years. It is also at the expense of our process of healing as a family because now that gets interrupted again," he tells Drum.
“The only thinking I could come up with when I heard his reasons is that this is the person who would go to the extreme without having regard for what others feel. He refuses to take responsibility for his actions and is willing to show us the middle finger as the family and show us that he can exercise his rights however he wants and, in the process, he doesn’t realise that he is causing us a lot of pain.”
He says the family is angry that they are supposed to attend court, especially when they were still processing the victory when Shoba was sent to prison for life.