Desai murder trial collusion claim

Murder accused Deswin Kleinbooi, left, and Eston Afrikaaner at the Port Elizabeth High Court
Picture: Devon Koen

A suggestion that two witnesses had colluded was made in the Port Elizabeth High Court yesterday when closing arguments were made in the case against two men accused of murdering Naeem Desai.

Desai, a member of the Helenvale Street patrols and a respected businessman, was shot in May 2016.

Addressing the court yesterday, Peet Schoonraad, representing alleged shooter, Eston “Gans” Afrikaner, 19, said the state’s case was riddled with mistakes and errors and could not be believed beyond reasonable doubt.

“The evidence is highly improbable,” he said.

Schoonraad said witnesses testifying on behalf of the accused were reliable, including Mara Jenneker, 59, of Helenvale, who testified last week that Afrikaner had spent the night at her house on the night before the murder.

However, state prosecutor Garth Baartman said Jenneker could not be believed as she presented herself to the court as a “show-off”.

“It was her moment of fame. Her testimony was more about herself and not the facts of the case,” he said. Schoonraad further claimed that the testimony of witnesses Ferdinand Valentine, 28, and Ayanda Frolick, 26, was questionable after it emerged in court that neither witness had given a statement immediately after the shooting, making their statements some days later.

“They had time to discuss and collude with each other,” Schoonraad said.

Baartman said there was no evidence that the two knew each other directly or indirectly.

Afrikaner, along with co-accused Deswin “Boetie Baas” Kleinbooi, 22, are accused of Desai’s murder.

Desai, 47, was shot while delivering bread to a spaza shop in Helenvale.

He was robbed of his cellphone, its charger and the day’s takings.

The pair, who pleaded not guilty, have been charged with murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances and the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Judge Dayalin Chetty will deliver his judgment tomorrow.

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