- The Johannesburg High Court has heard how there was an alleged ploy to lure Tshegofatso Pule to a location under the guise of an offer of employment.
- The trial of Ntuthuko Shoba, the alleged mastermind in the murder is underway.
- The trial continues on Tuesday.
Tshegofatso Pule was allegedly nearly lured to a location under the guise of an offer of employment a week before her death, the Johannesburg High Court heard on Monday.
The first witness in the trial against alleged mastermind, Ntuthuko Shoba - in her testimony - dealt with texts and calls to Pule luring her to a location under the guise of an offer of employment.
Tshepiso Tsita was questioned by State Advocate Faghre Mohammed about messages Pule received on 18 May 2020.
Tsita, who was friends with Pule for 16 years, said: "What I saw was an sms from a lady named Zandile or Zanele, and she is from [a recruitment company], and she is asking if Tshegoftaso is looking for a make-up job. So, what she would need to do is to teach people how to do their make-up, but she would be working from home as it was lockdown."
She said Pule was interested in the job.
Tsita said she was with Pule when she received a phone call from the recruiter who was using a private number.
She testified that Pule put the private call on speaker.
"The person went silent and then sent an sms apologising for using her private number – she [said she] has been running back-to-back meetings, and she asked Tshegofatso to confirm if she is interested again so she can send the interview details," Tsita said.
The interview was set up at the McDonald's in Ormonde, and Pule was instructed to arrive two hours early, Tsita said. The witness said that she found the choice of location strange because it was the lockdown period when eating in restaurants was not permitted.
On 29 May 2020 - the day of the interview - the witness said Pule received a message from the recruiter claiming she was running late. She asked Pule to get into a Jeep parked opposite the Mcdonald's.
Pule did not go to the said appointment scheduled just a few days before her death on 4 June 2020. She was expected to give birth in July 2020.
News24 reported in June 2020 that Pule's uncle, Tumisang Katake, had told the Sunday Times that the police had shown the family CCTV footage taken outside Shoba's home.
In it, Pule can allegedly be seen getting into a grey Jeep on the Thursday night in question. Shoba did not go with her.
It is not clear yet whether the alleged ploy described by the witness is linked to the details surrounding the death of Pule a few days later.
Shoba was implicated in Pule's murder after the State secured a guilty plea from Muzikayise Malephane in January last year.
Malephane admitted to killing Pule allegedly on instruction from Shoba.
The alleged mastermind faces one count of murder, alternatively conspiracy to commit murder, and a count of defeating the ends of justice. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The trial continues on Tuesday.