Two men charged with the 2016 cold-blooded killing of community policing forum founder Naeem “Captain” Desai were found guilty of murder in the Eastern Cape High Court in Port Elizabeth today.
Deswyn Kleinbooi, 22, was convicted on a charge of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances, but was acquitted of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Eston Afrikaner, 19, was convicted on all counts.
In May 2016, Desai, from Jadeeds Bakery in Port Elizabeth, was delivering bread in Helenvale when he was gunned down and left for dead in his truck in Fitchard Street. Desai, the founder of Malabar Patrols policing forum, on a daily basis travelled 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, 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.
Chetty found that when witnesses testified to corroborate their defence, collusion and concocted alibis manifested. 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 it was Afrikaner who pulled the trigger. Chetty further found that the men acted with common purpose to rob Desai.
The case was postponed to April 18 for pre-sentencing proceedings.