Stellenbosch University has distanced itself from the hiring of “Dr Death”, Wouter Basson, to lecture students and “commissioning” a painting of the apartheid-era chemical warfare expert on a wall on its campus.
The university, which recently dropped Afrikaans as its primary language following an outcry from students and the release of the video Luister by a group called Open Stellies documenting alleged accounts of racism, said Basson was not involved in lecturing or tutoring students.
“Stellenbosch University confirms that Dr Wouter Basson is not involved in any capacity in the lecturing or tutoring of students in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS),” spokesperson Martin Viljoen said.
“Dr Basson was never appointed by or employed by the FMHS in any capacity. As part of a project in partnership with Mediclinic, limited numbers of fourth and fifth year medical students are able to complete their four-week long internal medicine rotations at Mediclinic hospitals, and receive clinical training from private sector doctors,” he said.
The Mediclinic specialists receive accreditation from the FMHS to train and supervise students. When the Durbanville Mediclinic was accredited as a training site, accreditation was also given to a group of doctors to act as clinical supervisors.
In his capacity as a private doctor working in a Mediclinic hospital, Dr Basson was accredited as a clinical supervisor as part of this group.
“Dr Basson’s contact with students was limited to some tutorials on the electrocardiogram test (ECG).”
After he was found guilty by the HPCSA, the FMHS withdrew Dr Basson’s accreditation. Since then he has not been involved in the training or supervision of students in any official capacity, said Viljoen. He added that the painting was a project by an art student who aimed to generate social banter.
“It’s in no way honouring him [Basson] and it was not commissioned by the university.”
Basson was not immediately available for comment and the university did not respond to questions about the period of time students had been lectured by him.
In 2013, Basson was found guilty on four counts of misconduct by the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA).
The HPCSA confirmed he is allowed to practise medicine as he is currently legally challenging its finding in court.