The boyfriend of a South African woman whose murder shocked the nation two years ago has been found guilty of arranging her killing.
The Johannesburg High Court ruled that Ntuthuko Ntokozo Shoba was guilty of planning Tshegofatso Pule’s murder and paying the killer.
The pregnant 28-year-old’s body was found hanging from a tree two years ago, with a gunshot wound in the chest.
The killing was widely condemned, including by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
He has previously said South Africa was one of “the most unsafe places in the world to be a woman”.
In a country with one of the highest levels of violence in the world, including high cases of femicide, Ms Pule’s death distressed many.
The man who confessed to killing her, Muzikayise Malephane who is serving a 20-year sentence, became a state witness and implicated her boyfriend as the mastermind.
He told the court that Shoba had hired someone to lure the unsuspecting Ms Pule to a meeting point, and this was his second attempt on her life.
Malephane said Shoba wanted Ms Pule dead to keep his wife from finding out about the pregnancy.
Shoba was reportedly afraid of losing his wife and a trust fund pay-out that she had recently received. The forex trader had pleaded not guilty during his trial and said he was being framed.
Delivering his verdict, Judge Stuart Wilson said the facts which had been proven in court all showed conclusively that he was behind the hit.
Mr Shoba is due to be sentenced in early May.
Outside court, Ms Pule’s family sang, cried and hugged, saying justice had been served. She was expecting her first child when she was killed.
Her death inspired the hashtag #JusticeForTshego on Twitter.
In response, President Cyril Ramaphosa released a statement denouncing gender-based violence, saying the pandemic had made it more dangerous for women because “violent men are taking advantage of the eased restrictions on movement to attack women and children”.
As many as 51% of women in South Africa had experienced violence at the hands of someone they were in a relationship with, the president’s statement said.
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