South Africa 26.11.2014 12:20 pm

Heard by the HPCSA – Dr Wouter Basson should be struck off the roll

FILE PICTURE: Wouter Basson. Picture: Christine Vermooten

FILE PICTURE: Wouter Basson. Picture: Christine Vermooten

Heart surgeon Dr Wouter Basson should be struck off the roll because he disgraced the medical profession when he headed the apartheid government’s chemical warfare programme, the HPCSA has heard.

Advocate Salie Joubert, representing the pro forma complainant before a professional conduct committee of the HPCSA this morning said he would lead evidence in support of his argument that Basson should be struck off the roll of medical professionals.

In 2013 Basson was found guilty of unprofessional conduct as a medical doctor when he headed the apartheid government’s chemical and biological warfare programme between 1981 and 1992.

The HPCSA held his conduct was medically unethical when he co-ordination the production of large quantities of illegal psycho active drugs, equipped mortars with teargas, provided military operatives with disorientating substances to facilitate illegal cross-border kidnappings.

It also found that he had acted unethically by making cyanide capsules available to South African soldiers for suicide purposes to avoid revealing information under torture. The Council ruled he had violated the medical ethical principle of “first do no harm”.

Basson maintained he was a soldier following orders and has made his intention to appeal the HPCSA’s ruling clear.

The hearing commenced in 2007 after 40 medical doctors laid a complaint against Basson following his acquittal on criminal charges arising from his conduct in the High Court in Pretoria in 2002.

The State’s appeal against the ruling in the criminal trial was dismissed in both the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court.

More than 200 senior health professionals and 32 civil society organisations have signed petitions calling for Basson to be struck from the roll of medical health professionals.

The committee heard a recording of a radio interview Basson had shortly after he was found guilty of unprofessional conduct.
In the interview Basson said he respected the HPCSA’s findings, but felt he had done nothing wrong, there was not a scrap of proof that anyone had been harmed by what he did and he was in  fact proud of his conduct when he headed the chemical warfare programme.

The first witness for the complainant will be Mark Heywood, executive director of public interest law centre Section 27.


Read more here:

Committee to decide on Dr Wouter Basson’s fate 

Wouter Basson ouster petition insignificant

 

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