A 13-year-old boy from Shayandima, Phethani Kwinda, shot and killed himself with his uncle’s police service firearm on Monday afternoon. The boy was a Grade 8 pupil at Thohoyandou Technical High.
Police spokesperson Brig Motlafela Mojapelo confirmed that a 43-year-old police warrant officer (WO) has been charged with negligent handling and keeping of a firearm, in terms of the Firearms Control Act. This after his nephew had allegedly shot himself through the head with the WO’s service firearm, which was left in the room. The police officer handed himself over to the Thohoyandou police and appeared in the Thohoyandou Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday. The court outcome was not known yet at the time of our going to press.
The Provincial Commissioner of Police in Limpopo, Lieutenant General Thembi Hadebe, has strongly condemned this incident and negligence that resulted in the loss of a life. “A firearm may not be kept anywhere except in a locked safe, or carried in a holster that is worn by the person responsible for it, or attached to the person when not in use, or else the member will be dealt with accordingly,” said Hadebe.
Whether the child had accidentally shot himself or taken his own life is not clear yet. An inquest has also been opened and police investigations continue.
The boy’s grandmother, Ms Mutshekwa Kwinda, said that no words could ever describe the family’s devastation. “He was still so young and had such a bright future ahead of him,” she said.
The secretary of Shayandima Central Civic Association, Mr Eric Mphephu, said that he was very shocked when he heard the terrible news. He expressed his sincere condolences to the family.
Phethani will be buried on Saturday, 26 June. The service starts at 06:00 at Shayandima Township, followed by the burial at Ngovhela.
Date:24 June 2021 - By: Kaizer Nengovhela
Kaizer Nengovhela started writing stories for Limpopo Mirror more than a decade ago, in 2 000. Prior to that he had a five year stint at Phala-Phala FM as sports presenter. In 2005 Kaizer received an award from the province's premier as Best Sports Presenter. The same year he was also nominated as Best Sports Reporter by the Makhado Municipality. Kaizer was awarded the Mathatha Tsedu award in 2014.