Basson inquiry delayed again

2012-12-06 16:01


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria - Illness has again put a spoke in the wheels of Cape Town cardiologist Wouter Basson's ethical conduct hearing.

Basson's hearing on charges of unethical conduct before a professional conduct committee of the Health Professions Council was supposed to resume on Thursday.

The charges stem from his involvement in the apartheid government's chemical and biological warfare programme in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Basson's legal representative Jaap Cilliers SC applied for a postponement until April because two of Basson's witnesses were not available due to illness.

Toxicologist Prof Gert Muller of Stellenbosch University was to have given evidence on Thursday, but had a heart attack a few weeks ago.

Cilliers handed in a medical certificate from Muller's cardiologist that he was not allowed to travel by air and would not be able to testify.

Former surgeon general Dr Niel Knobel, who was to have resumed his evidence, was still recuperating from open-heart surgery earlier this year.

The hearing was delayed in September when the legal assessor, retired judge president Prof Frikkie Eloff, 80, was admitted to hospital with pneumonia.

Eloff was back at the hearing on Thursday.

Basson was not present for the postponement.

Pro forma prosecutor Salie Joubert said it was expected that evidence in the hearing would be concluded within a week.

Final argument in the hearing will only be presented in July next year.

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

He is also 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.

US medical ethics expert Prof Steven Miles previously testified that Basson had violated the laws of humanity and various World Medical Association declarations and regulations.

In contrast, Knobel said Basson had been a soldier and not a doctor when he headed the chemical and biological warfare programme.

Knobel also disagreed with Miles' view that once you were a doctor, you remained a doctor and that Basson had made use of his medical knowledge and skills when he headed the programme.

It was Basson's case that the surgeon general at the time had been in overall charge of the programme and that he had only carried out orders as a soldier.

Read more on:    wouter basson  |  jaap cilliers  |  judiciary

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Racism claims made at UKZN

2015-11-26 09:00 publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Prince George the green prince?

Prince Charles hopes his grandson's love of the outdoors will become a passion for the environment.



One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa
China's air pollution at doomsday levels
Keep food fresher for longer
Hurricanes, earthquakes and floods – What climate change really means for us

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

The full moon energy can be quite intense today as your emotions fight against reason. It is important to ground your ideas more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.