Tshegofatso Pule’s family wants to know why her killer has a cellphone with data in prison
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Johannesburg - The of the slain victim of gender-based violence, Tshegofatso Pule, is demanding answers from the Department of Correctional Services following the discovery of a cellphone with data in the prison cell of Pule’s killer.
Pule’s uncle and the family spokesperson, Tumisang Katake, told The Star yesterday that the family felt betrayed by the country’s justice system.
The family questioned how Muzikayise Malephane, who was convicted for Pule’s murder in February, was able to update his Facebook from prison.
This comes after The Star revealed that Malephane was active on social media, a move that led to his cell being searched and the cellphone seized.
“We are not saying that people who go to prison should be slaves, as if they are not human, but my understanding is that when you go to prison you lose certain privileges and rights that you may have. We are still shocked, but the people who should provide us with answers are the prison officials,” the uncle said.
Katake said he was further puzzled by the fact that Malephane had the data to update his Facebook status during the weekend when the country was commemorating the one-year anniversary of Pule’s death. The heavily pregnant woman was stabbed to death and found hanging from a tree in Roodepoort.
“As to how Muzikayise was able to update his Facebook from prison is still a mystery, but the people that need to tell us are the officials. How did he have access to gadgets? Who bought him data? Because this means life carries on as normal from there,” Katake said.
Katake said Malephane had not made contact with the Pule family. He said the convicted killer could have used his cellphone privilege to call and apologise for what he had done to the family.
“He won’t learn the lesson from what he has done. This man is having a nice time in prison, for us if we see someone taking responsibility for what happened, it will help us as a family. We have not heard from him since he was caught.”
Katake said there were suspicions that Malephane could be being treated specially because he became a state witness against Pule’s ex-boyfriend, Ntuthuko Shoba. But he said there was no evidence of this.
“They know that he is going to be a state witness. It’s hard to say if he was spoiled but we want to know from the prison officials as to what happened. My plea is that a person like Malephane gaining access to Facebook sends the wrong message,” he said.
Correctional Services said it was investigating the matter. In a statement on Wednesday, correctional services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo, said Malephane would be charged for contravening prison rules.
“This is a disturbing development as mobile phones are contraband. It is also a point of interest to us as a department to ascertain how the inmate managed to access this mobile phone,” Nxumalo said.
Nxumalo said correctional services would “leave no stone unturned” in trying to figure out who had given Malephane the cellphone.
“Those smuggling mobile phones into our centres must be dealt with harshly,” he said.