Tears of joy as killers jailed

Now there is justice for him, says wife of crime-fighter

Eston Afrikaner and Deswin Kleinbooi, left in the Port Elizabeth High Court following their sentencing
Eston Afrikaner and Deswin Kleinbooi, left in the Port Elizabeth High Court following their sentencing

The wife of northern areas crime-fighter Na’eem Desai felt pure joy yesterday when her husband’s killers were each given life sentences. Deswin “Boetie Baas” Kleinbooi, 23, and Eston “Gans” Afrikaner, 20, found guilty last month of the murder of Desai‚ were handed down hefty sentences in the Port Elizabeth High Court.

Desai’s wife, Armina, burst into tears and was comforted by family and friends, after Judge Dayalin Chetty handed down the sentences.

“I can’t explain how I feel – nothing will bring him back [but now] there is justice for him, my heart is overjoyed,” she said.

At times, Afrikaner and Kleinbooi were seen smiling and joking with each other during proceedings.

When the pair were escorted down to the holding cells afterwards, Afrikaner flashed journalists the zap sign.

Desai was shot dead in the early hours of May 12 2016, while delivering bread to a spaza shop in Helenvale.

He was sitting in his Jadeed Bakery delivery truck when Afrikaner shot him in the head before stealing his cellphone and an undisclosed amount of money.

“[Afrikaner] had the direct intention to kill [Desai] and then proceeded to rob the deceased of his belongings,” Chetty said.
Kleinbooi and Afrikaner received life for murder and 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Afrikaner also received 15 years for the illegal possession of a firearm and three years for illegal possession of ammunition.

Chetty said the association between Afrikaner and Kleinbooi was evident in that they had shared the spoils of the crime.

“The charges call for mandatory sentences,” he said.

A presentencing report for Afrikaner – who was only 18 at the time of the crime – showed that he had a deprived childhood and an “unfortunate upbringing”. But Chetty said this was not strong enough for a lighter sentence.

He said he accepted that Kleinbooi was a product of poor socioeconomic circumstances but he was already convicted of attempted murder, malicious damage to property and the illegal possession of a firearm for a crime in 2015.

He was convicted and sentenced to 15 years for that matter.

Chetty said the Desai murder was committed out of greed and not immaturity as suggested by the accused’s legal team.

An application for leave to appeal against both the conviction and sentencing was dismissed by Chetty.