PORT ELIZABETH - The Port Elizabeth High Court on Thursday handed down life sentences to two men convicted of the murder of a local community policing forum founder member.
Deswyn Kleinbooi, 22, and Eston Afrikaner, 19, were sentenced to life imprisonment for the 2016 cold-blooded killing of "Captain" Naeem Desai.
Kleinbooi had been convicted on a charge of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances, but was acquitted on a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition. Afrikaner was convicted on all counts.
Shortly after Afrikaner was jailed for life, he pulled zap signs to people sitting in the public gallery as he left court.
In passing down sentence, Judge Dayalin Chetty said the killing was one of greed, marked by immaturity. Chetty said Desai was executed by the young men who were not aware of what was in his possession at the time. "And yet he was shot with the mere hope that they would benefit from his death."
He said that Afrikaner had played a leading role with goal-orientated actions in Desai's murder. The court found that Afrikaner had direct intent in that he opened the vehicle door and robbed a lifeless body of its possessions.
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.
Desai, was the founder of Malabar Patrols policing forum and on a daily basis traveled to Helenvale to conduct business in the area for his brother’s bakery.
Chetty said the sheer audacity of the crime told of untold misfortune, adding that Desai's death had impacted negatively on his family, as told by his wife Amiena who testified during the trial. "His loss left a deep void, not only in the CPF, but for the community at large," Chetty said.
Desai's wife Amiena showed gratitude and cried tears of joy following the pair's sentencing. "My heart is just so overjoyed, nothing will bring him back but it's justice for him," she said.
Chetty subsequently dismissed an application for leave to appeal both the conviction and sentence for the pair.
African News Agency/ANA