Police Commissioner of the South African Police Service (SAPS) in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma has "strongly condemned" the fatal shooting and senseless killing of "an innocent" 13-year-old boy during a robbery.
Zuma said the teenager's mother was working night shift at a mine during the robbery.
"This horrific and heartbreaking incident occurred in the early hours of [Tuesday], 19 May 2020, at Clarinet near Witbank," Zuma said.
He said according to information the police have gathered, the 13-year-old was asleep when "two ruthless thugs broke into the home" and stole valuable items. Zuma added that the two suspects did not realise the boy was inside the house.
"He, the boy, might have been awoken by the strange noise in the house and upon seeing that his life was in danger, then ran into one of the rooms and locked himself inside. Moments later, the boy screamed for help, which drew the attention of the heartless men and they then headed to the room, broke the door and suffocated him until he became unconscious. One of the suspects even had the guts to shoot at the defenceless boy as he lay there unresponsive and they took a television-set before fleeing the scene on foot," Zuma said.
He said neighbours notified the police and medical personnel about the incident. Zuma said the neighbours had also heard the 13-year-old screaming as well as the sound of gunshot.
"The boy was found but unfortunately certified dead. A case of house robbery as well as murder was opened and police have since launched a manhunt for the suspects," Zuma said.
He said the police "are really disturbed" by the murder of "an innocent teenager" at the hands of "brainless criminals".
"I have already ordered for their quick arrest and will use all our arsenals to track these men who have no regard to human life. These suspects can only be regarded as cowards who opted to prey on an innocent, defenceless child even though he was suffocated by them and lying down motionless. They should be urgently found, arrested so that they can face the giant might of the law. The patriotic community should assist us and I urge anyone who recently bought a television-set from the streets to immediately contact the police as a matter of urgency because you might be watching television which has blood of the boy," Zuma said.
(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)
For more news your way, download The Citizen's app for iOS and Android.