Dr Death’s drugs ‘used in teargas’

2011-10-01 20:26

Some of “Dr Death” Wouter Basson’s ­controversial substances were used ­by the apartheid riot police against protestors.

But, argued his advocate Jaap Cilliers SC this week, Basson did not act unethically by producing these concoctions.

He was merely taking part in the “legal operations of the day”.

Basson is charged by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) for acting unethically through his participation in Project Coast – the apartheid regime’s chemical and biological warfare programme.

Cilliers asked US ethics expert Professor Steven Miles whether his opinion about Basson’s allegedly unethical behaviour would’ve been any different if the activities had been aimed at supporting law ­enforcers’ legal operations.

Miles did not answer the question and merely said Basson had carried out military operations, but Cilliers pointed out to him that the apartheid defence force (SADF) had worked closely with the police.

Cilliers said they would lead further evidence in relation to charge two against Basson – that it was part of “riot control”.

Under charge two, Basson is charged that, as the project officer of Delta G, he manufactured mandrax, ­ecstasy, BZ and the teargases CS and CR “on a large scale”.

He testified previously that CR was supplied indirectly to the ­SADF for riots and that even the defence force did not know it was actually manufactured in ­Pretoria.

A front company had been formed, with this in mind, to buy the product from Delta G to channel it to the ­defence force.

According to Basson’s testimony, the product CR makes a person feel so bad that he just “wants to go home, lie down and die”.

According to the criminal hearing testimony, there were different variations of BZ that had different effects.

Basson testified that the one variation makes the targets completely passive so that in the face of great danger they would just sit down.

Another variation makes a target so aggressive that “he starts shooting his own mother”.

Arguing against the charges, Basson’s legal team said he had performed the activities in his capacity as a “soldier” and not a doctor.

It therefore falls outside the fields of behaviour that the ­HPCSA must judge.

Cilliers compared Basson with former president Nelson Mandela.

The Law Society ­wanted to strike Mandela from the roll at the time because he was ­violating apartheid laws for political purposes and incited others to do so.

Cilliers argued that the court had accepted that Mandela carried out his political activities in his personal capacity and not as a lawyer.

Another argument by Basson’s defence was that he acted ethically by supplying substances for cross-
border operations, rather than slitting throats or shooting ANC, PAC or Swapo members.


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