The Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, onTuesday ordered the police to pay Mbekwa Madondo, 43, who was nearly killed when he was shot three times in 2009 on his way to deposit money at the Carlton Centre in the Joburg CBD.
He had his firearm in its holster and explained in court papers that it was part of his routine as a taxi driver.
The student policeman, who was in the same vicinity, mistook him for a robber.
Madondo reached for his back pocket to produce his driving licence, but the student officer, mistakenly believing he was reaching for his firearm, shot the taxi driver in the chest.
The injured Madondo ran into a nearby shop, but the student officer came after him.
He dragged Madondo out of the shop and shot him twice again while he was lying on the ground.
The bullets struck vital organs and he was rushed to the intensive care unit of Johannesburg Hospital.
All the bullets hit his abdominal cavity, his liver, colon and stomach, which were severely damaged. The bullets narrowly missed his heart.
He had to remain in intensive care for several days under police protection.
The police claimed he wanted to shoot the student constable and that the latter acted in self-defence. Madondo was charged, but all charges were later withdrawn.
An expert said Madondo had a “near-death” experience and was crippled permanently.
He was a member of the Mzansi Zulu dancing group before the incident, but from then on can now only attend gatherings as a spectator.
Madondo blamed the police for his ill fortune and said they had no reason to believe he was a robber.
He was upset that they branded him a robber while he tried to explain that he was simply a taxi driver minding his own business and on his way to use the ATM.
The father of eight now faces a life of pain and several surgical procedures in future, the court was told.