After a recommendation by the Independent Complaints Directorate, a police inspector at the Lebowakgomo police station in Limpopo has been charged with murder.
He allegedly opened fire on a group of youths after a local doctor was beaten unconscious.
The incident happened at Mamaolo village in GaMphahlele outside Lebowakgomo last week.
According to police spokesman Superintendent Patty Khumalo, seven youngsters had mugged a local doctor and beaten him unconscious on the night of February 24 in Lebowakgomo. The doctor was left for dead.
Khumalo said the youths fled in a donkey cart. The police were informed and gave chase. The youths threw stones at the police who wanted to arrest them.
During the ensuing fracas, one of the officers apparently fired shots at the fleeing youngsters.
The officer did not realise that one of the boys had been hit.
It was only after the boy's family had reported him as missing that a search was launched. The boy's body was found in bushes, a few metres from where the youths had started running away from the police.
Khumalo said a murder case had been opened and referred to the Independent Complaints Directorate.
After investigating the case, the directorate recommended that the officer be arrested.
"We arrested a 48-year-old officer and charged him with murder," Khumalo said.