Cape Town - A nine-year-old child was shot dead while playing with a police officer's firearm with two of her friends in Mbekweni at the weekend.
Police spokesperson FC Van Wyk said a murder case was registered for investigation after a shooting incident on Friday night, at a premises in Drommedaris at Mbekweni, where the child was shot and fatally wounded.
According to a leaked police report, three minor children were invited to play at the officer's house, when he just arrived from work and took off his service pistol and put it on the sofa to fetch water.
The report said the children got hold of the firearm, were playing and arguing over it. The officer tried to intervene, a shot went off and the victim was shot in the face.
"She ran towards her house, bleeding and the officer followed to try and help, but saw that he could do nothing, returned home and called for help, and the victim died on the scene."
Van Wyk said the incident was handed over to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), whose spokesperson Ndileka Cola said they were investigating a death case as a result of police action.
Mbekweni Community leader, and a former Community Policing Forum (CPF) chairperson Quincy Bongo said the police officers were reckless, and were full of negligence.
Community safety standing committee chairperson in the provincial legislature, Reagan Allen, said he would be writing to the Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz, to ascertain how many cases like these have been recorded by the police, and to establish whether enough regulation was put in place to prevent what could be described as an accident.
SA Police and Allied Workers Union (Sapawu) president Bonga Makuliwe said it was unfortunate that the child had been fatally killed in the incident. However, members needed to be more cautious when around children.
Makuliwe said he believed if there was no ammunition in the chamber; the child shouldn't have managed to pull the trigger and release the bullet.
He appealed to police officers to always exercise safety precautions when handling firearms, and should be in a holster, safe or strong room, not a sofa.