Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
17 Jul 2015
4:30 am

Court settles for man maimed by cops

Ilse de Lange

The police minister has been ordered to pay an interim amount of R500 000 to a young Mpumalanga father, who is a paraplegic after the police accidentally shot him in the chest five years ago.

Picture: Thinkstock

Judge Winston Msimeki granted an order in favour of Rudolph Nyalungu, 34, who said in an affidavit the shooting at a Lillydale tavern in February 2010 had left him, his wife and two children absolutely destitute.

He said it was unlikely a civil trial in his R5 million damages claim against the minister would be finalised within the next year.

Nyalungu was working as a team leader for a civil engineering company at the time and had high hopes of furthering his training.

He was at a local tavern with friends when he went out for a smoke and was shot in the chest by police, who wanted to make arrests at the next door bottle store but started shooting when people ran away.

He was taken to a local hospital in a private vehicle, but was sent home the same day. He was only admitted to a provincial hospital when he went back to his local hospital complaining of a swollen abdomen.

The shooting incident rendered him a paraplegic who is confined to a wheelchair, unable to sit without support, in constant pain and with a dysfunctional bladder.

Nyalungu said in court papers he had recurrent sores and spasms, battled to access bath and toilet facilities and was unable to participate in domestic tasks or leisure pursuits. He lost his job as a result of the incident and it was unlikely he would ever be able to earn an income.

He had to survive on a disability grant, but could not afford medical treatment at a private hospital or to buy all the devices recommended for people with his disability. According to an expert report, Nyalungu lived in a house without a bathroom or running water and battled to get in and out of his house because there was no ramp and the terrain was muddy and uneven.

He could not afford a robust wheelchair, let alone a self propelled wheelchair, the necessary psychological counseling and medication to prevent depression and basic skincare to prevent bed sores.