Health blow in Basson hearing

2012-09-25 15:39

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Pretoria - Cardiologist Dr Wouter Basson's professional conduct hearing was postponed on Tuesday because presiding Judge Frikkie Eloff was ill.

The matter was being heard before the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) tribunal.

A witness in the case, former surgeon general of the defence force Neil Knobel, who was scheduled to be cross-examined on Tuesday, could also not make it as he had open heart surgery earlier this month.

Knobel gave evidence before the inquiry was postponed in March.

Chairperson of the inquiry, Professor Jannie Hugo, postponed the matter to December 6 and 7. Parties will hold a consultative meeting in October where the health of the two would be reviewed.

Earlier, Basson’s defence counsel Jaap Cilliers suggested the matter be deferred until March next year.

Hugo indicated that a replacement for Judge Eloff would have to be found, if he is not ready to take up the matter in December.

He said if a new adjudicator is brought on board, that person will be given time to become familiar with the long-running case.

Eloff was said to be suffering from pneumonia.

Basson faces four charges of unprofessional and unethical conduct.

The charges relate to his conduct as a medical doctor, when he headed the country's chemical and biological warfare research programme for the defence force in the 1980s and early 1990s during the apartheid era.

He is accused of acting unethically in the 1980s by co-operating in the large-scale production of Mandrax and cocaine, and for 'weaponising' teargas and supplying it to rebel leader Jonas Savimbi in the Angolan war.

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 suicide purposes.
Read more on:    hpcsa  |  wouter basson

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