Pretoria – A 32-year-old Limpopo man was arrested for negligent handling of a firearm after he allegedly gave his 13-year-old son a licensed firearm “for protection”.
Spokesperson for the South African Police Service (SAPS) Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said the incident happened at Rabali Village in the Mphephu policing area, and the father appeared in Mphephu Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
The father, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his son, was released on R1 000 bail and will return to court in May.
“The two suspects (father and son) were arrested after members of the community noticed that the boy was armed with a firearm while he was playing with his friends and they immediately called the police. Upon arrival at the scene, police found the boy armed with a 9mm pistol with an empty magazine and he was arrested,” Mojapelo said.
The teenager informed police that the firearm belonged to his father.
“Further investigation into the matter led to the arrest of the suspect’s father for allegedly giving his son his licensed firearm for protection. The 13-year-old boy was charged with illegal possession of a firearm and was released into the custody of his mother,” Mojapelo said.
The 13-year-old boy is expected to appear in court on Monday, and will be dealt with in accordance with the Child Justice Act.
Meanwhile, acting provincial commissioner of police in Limpopo, Major General Jan Scheepers has commended community members for alerting police about the incident.
“In terms of the existing law, firearms can only be kept in a locked safe or carried in a holster by the licence holder or a legal person. Parents are also urged to protect their children instead of exposing them to danger,” Scheepers said.
The SAPS said the father will be subjected to the process of determining his fitness to possess a firearm.
Police investigations into the incident are still continuing.
Last year, a tip-off has led to the arrest of a 15-year-old suspect in Wesbank, Mfuleni, who was allegedly caught with an unlicensed firearm concealed in a teddy bear.
At the time, it was believed that the suspect was linked to a local gang operating in the area, Western Cape police spokesperson Colonel Andrè Traut said.