Deswin Kleinbooi (left) and Eston Afrikaner plead not guilty to murdering Naeem Desai during May 2016. PHOTO: Raahil Sain/ANA

PORT ELIZABETH- Two men charged with the murder of the community policing forum founder on Monday pleaded not guilty in the Port Elizabeth High Court to killing ‘Captain’ Naeem Desai. 

Deswyn Kleinbooi, 22, and Eston Afrikaner, 19 who hail from Helenvale, appeared in court where they pleaded not guilty to charges which include murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, unlawful possession of firearm and ammunition.

In May 2016, Desai from Jadeeds Bakery, was delivering bread in Helenvale when he was gunned down and left for dead in his truck in Fitchard street.

The area of Helenvale is directly adjacent to Malabar. Desai on a daily basis travelled to Fitchard Street to conduct business in the area for his brother’s bakery.

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At the time community members said that Desai had been targeted for a long time by alleged members from the “Sestien honde” (Sixteen Dogs) gang.

Malabar Patrols is a crime prevention initiative which started in 2008 when community members noticed an alarming increase in crime in the suburb.

According to a close colleague, Desai delivered bread in Helenvale for the past 10 years because other drivers were just “too frightened” to go into the area for fear of being robbed.

He was know as a ‘Captain’ or the ‘Rambo of Port Elizabth’ - a pillar of strength in the community policing forum who was always willing to lend a hand. 

According to the State, Desai was shot in the head, robbed of his phone, charger and cash. 

State prosecutor Garth Baartman asked for a postponement. 

State witness Ayanda Frollick is expected to be called to the stand on Tuesday. 

African News Agency/ANA