2 minute read
21 Jan 2015
7:53 am

Wouter Basson in bid to halt sentencing


An application by cardiologist Dr Wouter Basson to remove two members of an HPCSA committee sentencing him for unprofessional conduct will be heard in the High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday.

FILE PICTURE: Cardiologist Dr Wouter Basson. (Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Lisa Hnatowicz)

According to an affidavit filed in court, Basson wants information on the HPCSA’s professional conduct committee’s chairman Prof Jannie Hugo and Prof Eddie Mahlangu. He wants to determine if they are members of any organisations that endorsed a petition to remove him from the register of medical practitioners.

Basson wants Hugo and Mahlangu to be prohibited from proceeding with the sentencing pending finalisation of their recusal application.

Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) spokeswoman Charmaine Motloung said the professional conduct committee would meet on Thursday to announce what the court had decided.

On Monday, the first day of sentencing proceedings, Basson and his council Jaap Cilliers walked out to lodge the high court application.

Cilliers said the defence had information that Hugo signed a petition calling for Basson to be struck from the medical practitioners’ register.

Basson was found guilty of unprofessional conduct by the HPCSA in December 2013, following a six-year long inquiry.

The HPCSA inquiry was held to determine whether Basson acted unethically during his work on the apartheid government’s chemical and biological weapons project, Project Coast, during the 1980s and early 1990s.

In his defence, Basson claimed he acted as a soldier and not a doctor.

Basson was accused of acting unethically by being involved in the large-scale production of Mandrax, cocaine and teargas, of weaponising teargas, and of supplying it to Angola’s Unita leader Jonas Savimbi.

He was accused of acting unethically by providing disorientating substances for cross-border kidnappings and making cyanide capsules available for distribution to operatives for use in committing suicide.

In 2002, Basson was acquitted by the High Court in Pretoria of criminal charges arising from his conduct.

The HPCSA reviewed the judgment to establish if there were grounds to hold an inquiry. The State appealed against the decision of the high court in the Supreme Court of Appeal, but the appeal was dismissed.

The State then went to the Constitutional Court, but that case was dismissed in September 2005.