Soweto girl, 11, killed in police crossfire
One moment S'bongumusa Mzizi was lying on her bed, watching TV. The next she was looking at the body of her 11-year-old daughter, lying in a pool of blood - allegedly shot by the police.
Kimberley Mzizi was shot on Monday afternoon while playing with other children in a street in Braamfischerville, Soweto.
S'bongumusa heard a gunshot and rushed outside to investigate. She saw her daughter's bleeding body in the sandy street.
"I found her lying there, not speaking, not moving . not anything."
Bending over her was a policeman, frantically telling the girl to wake up.
"Vuka, vuka, my baby! Wake up," he is said to have yelled.
Neighbour Themba Radebe also went outside after he heard gunshots. He felt the child's pulse and told the policeman that Kimberley was dead. Other policemen quickly disarmed the man, apparently fearing that he might "try to commit suicide because of what he had done", said Radebe.
Later, as the community gathered, Radebe told the police to "take [their colleague] away", fearing they might dispense mob justice.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini yesterday described the killing as "accidental", saying the officers had been chasing a man who had allegedly threatened to kill his girlfriend when Kimberley was shot.
He said that as the police approached the premises to which the man had fled - a block or two from Mzizi's house - he set a dog on them . He ran away, jumping over a wall.
Dlamini said that during the chase the man produced a gun.
"Two shots were fired by a police officer," Dlamini said.
Radebe had picked up a cartridge in his garden, saying this showed the shot was fired from his yard.
Kimberley and her friends were playing with skipping ropes in the street and were reportedly in the line of fire.
One of Mzizi's neighbours, Margaret Rahube, said she saw the man fleeing the police.
Mzizi said that, when she approached the scene , a policeman pushed her away , telling her to "stay away".
"He didn't even ask if I was the mother. I was just crying. He was shivering. He was scared."
As the family made arrangements to fetch the body from the government mortuary, Mzizi said: "I will ask the police to help with burying. I want them to help me. I don't have anything. I am unemployed. I am just me.
"I can't even understand."
Mzizi's husband died three months ago. Now she has only her 22-month-old child.
Dlamini would not say whether the police would assist with the funeral arrangements.
The killing is to be investigated by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.