A 524 day battle for justice ended in bittersweet victory for the Naicker family of Phoenix when the the two accused in the brutal 2018 murder of Donovan Naicker, 37, were found guilty in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

Speaking to The Phoenix Tabloid, Naicker’s sister, Natasha Naidoo, said it has been a long and heartbreaking journey for truth and justice to prevail in the midst of her family’s most devastating loss. “Now begins our mourning for my beloved brother. Since his murder, our family has been in limbo. We sought the truth and justice for my brother’s senseless killing. We still cry and yearn for him. Our baby was snatched away in the blink of an eye and his killer’s showed no remorse,” said Naidoo.

Naicker was beaten to death in March last year when he intervened to help a friend during an altercation near his Phoenix home. The accused in the case, Phalco Floyd Reddy and Karl Pretorius, were found guilty by the court and were said to have acted in common purpose by Magistrate Betty Rawheath. A third suspect, Jensen Reddy, was discharged of murder last month. Naicker, a father of three, was bashed with bricks and died of his injuries sustained at the hands of his murderers. Naidoo took up the course for justice upon her brother’s murder and fought tooth and nail for his killers to face the long arm of the law.

“My brother’s killers felt nothing about taking his life. They felt nothing about taking a father from his children, a son from his mother and a brother from his sister. They killed him in cold blood and then denied it. They mocked and taunted us in court. My mother and I have cried rivers of tears for our Dobby.”

“He did not deserve to die in such a cruel way and at such a young age. We turned our lives upside down in a bid to obtain justice for my brother and it was worth every sacrifice to know that his killers never got away with his murder,” Naidoo said. “We will never forget that image of Donovan lying on the cold, hard ground, beaten and bloodied. That’s where our struggle for justice was born.

I remember sitting in the hallways of the police station waiting for updates on my brother’s murder case. I stopped working because the search for justice became my full time job. After the sentencing of Donovan’s murderers on 16 August, maybe we will find some semblance of peace in life again,” a tearful Naidoo added. Naidoo has been commended for her commitment to ensuring her brother’s killer’s receive their punishment and the public heaped support and praise for her justice bid on her Facebook page ‘Justice for Donovan’ which she started in memory of her slain brother with a following of over 13000 supporters.

“My mother cried upon hearing the guilty verdict. So did I. We will not see or have our Dobby but his killers have been brought to book. My faith in the justice system is restored. We await a heavy sentence to be handed down. We thank all our supporters, family and friends who have stood with us through this ordeal. Your motivation and support has been incredible and will never be forgotten,” Naidoo said.

On Friday, community members who journeyed with the family during the trial, laid roses at the spot where Naicker was killed in memory of his life and as a symbol of victory and peace after so many months of battling for the truth.