A Limpopo police officer ran amok and allegedly shot dead his mother-in-law and his 10-year-old sister-in-law before injuring his girlfriend in a fit of rage.
The incident happened in Bela-Bela on Tuesday.
Police spokesman Superintendent Mohale Ramatseba said the 25-year-old officer, who was on probation, had been arrested and charged with two counts of murder and attempted murder.
Ramatseba said the injured woman was fighting for her life in the intensive care unit at a local hospital.
He said the incident happened at about 4.30pm at the victims' home. The suspect allegedly shot his girlfriend's mother, 42, and his sister-in-law in cold blood.
His girlfriend managed to escape and hid at a neighbour's house. After the shootings, the suspect allegedly held the firearm to his head, threatening to kill himself. Police negotiators were summoned to the scene and managed to convince him not to take his own life.
"We have since arrested the suspect and confiscated the service pistol that he used in the shootings," Ramatseba said.
He said the suspect was due to appear in the Bela-Bela magistrate's court today.
Ramatseba said the suspect was only expected to complete his probation in the police force in June. "As police, we urge our members and ordinary citizens of this country who are experiencing problems in their relationships to seek assistance from relevant people who have been trained to deal with those issues rather than resort to killings.
"On our part as police, we have the employee assistance services unit which is capable of helping our members."
Ramatseba added that the suspect was expected to be served with a suspension letter "soon".