Witness recalls Desai murder

Two months before he was gunned down in Helenvale while doing deliveries, Port Elizabeth businessman Naeem Desai gave one of his alleged attackers a loaf of bread when he asked for food.

This was the testimony of Ferdinand Valentine, 28, in the Port Elizabeth High Court on Friday.

Valentine said the only reason Desai was not armed at the time of his death was because the licence for his firearm had expired and he did not want to carry it illegally.

Valentine was giving evidence against Deswin “Boetie Baas” Kleinbooi, 22, and Eston “Gans” Afrikaaner, 19.

Both have pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances and the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Judge Dayalin Chetty gave permission earlier in the day that Valentine testify through the assistance of an intermediary as he had a mild mental disability.

Clinical psychologist Catherine van Rensburg said he was also traumatised by the events he had witnessed and did not have the skills to manage his emotional response if he saw the accused face to face.

Valentine told the court he had been employed by Jadeed’s Bread for the past nine years and worked every morning with Desai.

Desai , 47, was shot in the head and robbed of his cellphone, its charger and an undisclosed amount of money while he sat in the driver’s seat of the Jadeed’s Bread delivery van outside a Helenvale spaza shop in the early hours of the morning on May 12 2016.

Valentine said Desai picked him up in front of his house in Arcadia every morning – except for Sundays – at 1.45am.

He said he and two other “van boys” would sit in front for the first part of the trip but when the deliveries started, they sat at the back.

Valentine said that on May 12 they were doing a delivery after 5am at a spaza shop called the Blue Container.

“I was walking towards the van to tell [Desai] the order,” he said.

“I saw Gans [Afrikaaner] standing at the driver’s door. Mr Naeem [Desai] didn’t get out. Gans was pointing a gun at his head.

“I realised that he must have been shot. If he wasn’t shot he would have climbed out of that van and beat them up,” he said.

He said after Desai was shot, Afrikaaner was leaning over his body to get to the day’s takings.

“Boetie Baas [Kleinbooi] was looking around making sure nobody was approaching,” Valentine said.

Valentine said he immediately told the other “van boys” what had happened.

They then ran to a nearby shop for help.

Valentine said he knew both Afrikaaner and Kleinbooi well. He said they were both alleged members of the 16 Honde gang.

“We also know them as G-man [Gans] and B-man [Boetie Baas].”

He said that the next day he was back at work doing bread deliveries when he encountered Kleinbooi sitting on the steps in front of the Valentine family home in Helenvale.

“I was standing on the back of the truck and the truck was moving.

“He shouted at me that anybody who said anything about what happened, will be killed,” Valentine said.

The trial continues on Monday.

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