Some charges dropped against Basson

2011-09-26 14:41

The Health Professions Council of SA today decided not to proceed with some of the charges laid against cardiologist Wouter Basson.

These included one relating to Basson accepting his appointment by the surgeon-general of the SA Defence Force as the apartheid-era germ warfare expert heading Project Coast.

The council also dropped the third charge and elements of the second one, spokesperson Lize Nel said in Pretoria.

Both relate to tests conducted on members of the special forces troops and the SA Police Task Force. The tests used sedative substances such as Mandrax, ecstasy, an incapacitating agent BZ and teargas.

Nel said reasons for the withdrawal of these charges would be heard when an ethics expert gave testimony.

Basson now faces charges relating to his efforts to “weaponise” thousands of 120mm mortar bombs with teargas, make cyanide capsules available to operational officers for suicide and provide disorientation substances to tranquillise kidnapped people.

Charges against Basson were brought in 2007.

Basson arrived at the council accompanied by Jaap Cilliers, who represented him at the hearing previously.

Last year, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria dismissed an application by Basson that would have prevented the council from continuing the inquiry.

Basson wanted the hearings to be found unlawful, unreasonable and unfair.

However, Judge Eberhard Bertelsmann reinforced a previous judgment that there was no indication the council’s chief executive Boyce Mkhize tried to influence the investigation into Basson.

The court ruled there was no reasonable evidence to suggest the council’s professional conduct committee was prejudiced against the doctor.

It found Basson’s apparent fear to appear before the committee was unjustified.

Speaking to journalists during the break, Basson said he wanted to close that chapter of his life and continue helping his patients.

The hearing continues.


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