The Pumas had replacement flyhalf JC Roos to thank for getting out of jail at Mbombela Stadium after he slotted a late conversion to give his team a hard-fought 36-35 win over the Valke.
The visitors from the East Rand scored two early tries and five in total to suggest an upset was on the cards, but the Pumas pulled a rabbit out of the hat with a handful of minutes remaining when eighthman RW Kember went over for Roos to administer the last rites.
The win sees the Pumas to fourth on the table, three points behind the Leopards as the eight-team log begins to take on a distinctly 'top four, bottom four' look after four rounds.
The Valke stay sixth, with one win from their four matches, with only the winless and battling Boland Kavaliers and Border Bulldogs below them.
Final Score Pumas (13) 36 Valke (20) 35
Tries: RW Kember, Renaldo Bothma, Carl Bezuidenhout, Ashwin Scott
Conversions: Bezuidenhout, JC Roos
Penalties: Bezuidenhout (4).
Tries: Uzair Cassiem, Karlo Aspeling (2), JW Bell (2)
Conversions: Aspeling, Arno Poley
Drop goal: Aspeling.