Port Elizabeth - Two men charged with the 2016 cold-blooded killing of a local community policing forum founder, "Captain" Naeem Desai were found guilty of murder in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Wednesday.
Deswyn Kleinbooi, 22, was convicted on a charge of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, but was acquitted of unlawful possession of firearm and ammunition.
Eston Afrikaner, 19, was convicted on all counts.
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, the founder of Malabar Patrols policing forum, on a daily basis traveled to Fitchard Street to conduct business in the area for his brother’s bakery. Malabar Patrols is a crime prevention initiative which started in 2008 when community members noticed an alarming increase in crime in the suburb.
In handing down judgment on Wednesday, Judge Dayalin Chetty dismissed both Kleinbooi's and Afrikaner's alibis as "contrived".
Both the men had based their defence on alibis and claimed that they were not at the scene the day Desai was killed. However, Chetty found that when witnesses testified to corroborate their defence, collusion and concocted alibis manifested. He found that Kleinbooi's and Afrikaner's denial of having being on the scene was contrived.
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Chetty was satisfied that the lighting at the scene of the crime was sufficient to make a proper identification of the men.
Based on evidence from a state witness, Chetty came to the conclusion that Afrikaner was the gunman that gunned down Desai.
Chetty further found that the men acted with common purpose to rob Desai, given their admitted prior knowledge of the trucks movements in the area. "Mrs Desai’s uncontroverted evidence was that the deceased had a black Samsung cellphone, a silver portable charger and habitually carried R3 000 on him, none of which was retrieved. The inference can properly be drawn that the accused appropriated the deceased’s belongings after [Afrikaner] shot him."
The case was postponed until April 18 for pre-sentencing proceedings.
African News Agency/ANA