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Kimberley - A city policeman, who had recently returned from duty in Marikana, died yesterday morning after accidentally shooting himself in the head with his service pistol, which he apparently thought was not loaded.
Mabotho Faizyle Moilwa, 27, who was allegedly drunk at the time, was apparently playing with the weapon when the accident happened around midday.
“He and his friends were sitting on the veranda and had been drinking alcohol since the early hours of the morning,” his sister, Jamila Moilwa, said.
Moilwa apparently left them and went into his bedroom where he opened his safe and took out his gun. He returned to the veranda and told them that the gun was not loaded and then put it against his head and pulled the trigger.
When the DFA arrived at the scene, hundreds of residents, including many school children, were gathered outside Moilwa’s grandmother’s house in Sago Crescent in Galeshewe, where the incident occurred.
The street was already cordoned off by the police and many police officers were moving in and out of the Moilwa residence.
Moilwa’s body was lying in a pool of blood on the veranda, which is enclosed by a small brick wall and metal bugler-proofing.
It took the police’s forensic unit hours to move Moilwa’s body from where he was lying into the mortuary van.
“Since the incident happened inside the enclosed veranda it will take us more time to conclude our forensic investigation,” one police forensic official said.
Although most of the residents at the scene refused to speak to the DFA about the incident, a group of learners from the school opposite Moilwa’ home, said that they heard a single gun shot.
“The incident happened at lunch time. We just heard a loud bang and we panicked, thinking that a taxi had hit something. The next thing we saw people running out of the yard, followed by a woman who was crying,” one of the learners said.
Moilwa’s uncle, who did not want to be named, said that he had warned him not to play with guns but he did not want to listen.
“This is a serious tragedy. I warned him earlier because he was carrying two hand grenades and was playing with them while holding my niece’s 11-month-old child with his other hand. When I cautioned him about this, he became furious. So I left them,” he stated.
Jamila said that the incident happened two days after her brother (Moilwa) had returned from Marikana where he had been deployed after the eruption of the violent protests at the Lonmin Mine.
“He came back to Kimberley on Tuesday after he collapsed and was hospitalised in Marikana last week Friday. In fact I communicated with him a lot when he was still in Marikana and although he did not appear to have problems while he was there, he constantly mentioned that he missed home,” Jamila said.
She pointed out that her family was traumatised by Moilwa’s death because it was not expected.
“We don’t know what to do. This incident has taken its toll on our mother and grandmother because my brother was a good person.”
The Galeshewe police said they were investigating the incident.
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