Dressed in oversized clothes and shoes that were way too big for him, the scrawny teen stood in the dock of the Goodwood Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, to face a gun charge.
The court was cleared for the 13-year-old’s case, which was held in camera, following his arrest for allegedly being in possession of a firearm in Cravenby Estate, Cape Town, on Tuesday.
No details of the teen can be revealed as he is a minor.
He looked on nervously as Magistrate Bukiwe Sambudla asked an adult accompanying him a few questions about his circumstances.
The court heard the teen is in foster care and while his case is being prepared, he will be transferred to a child youth care centre.
On Tuesday, Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, said officers were on patrol when they were told of a possible incident related to a school.
“They searched the area and found the boy next to a school in the area, firearm in hand,” Smith added.
“The details around the case are yet to be determined, but there are allegations that the child was sent to attack another child at the school, and threatened a teacher in the process.
“This is deeply disturbing, and we hope that the appropriate social services interventions can take place to put this young boy on a different path.”
Smith also wanted the police to find out who gave him the gun.
His appearance coincided with a statement by Western Cape Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz about the number of children and young people incarcerated in the province.
According to statistics provided to him by the Department of Correctional Services, of the remanded detainees, nine are children, 799 are juveniles, and 2,405 are between the ages of 21 and 25.
Children are classified as being under the age of 18, while juveniles are between 18 and 20.
Of those sentenced, seven were children, 387 were juveniles and 2,742 were between the ages of 21 and 25.
Fritz said he would use every opportunity to improve the safety of young people in the Western Cape.
He was also pleased with a Gauteng High Court ruling on Monday, which he said had ordered Police Minister Bheki Cele and national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole to implement an electronic database for firearms.
Fritz said this would help safeguard against the possession and distribution of illegal firearms.
This is comes amid a backdrop of the SA National Defence Force being called in to assist the police in Cape Town to curb crime and carry out arrests in hot spots.
The police do not provide ongoing crime statistics, instead it releases an annual report.
However, Fritz has started providing reports from mortuaries in the Cape metropole.
According to those statistics, 41 murders were recorded in Cape Town this past weekend, with knives and sharp instruments overtaking guns as the weapons of choice.
Of the 41 cases, 16 of the deaths were gunshots, 19 stabbings and six as a result of other circumstances.