Wouter Basson guilty of unprofessional conduct – HPCSA

2013-12-18 12:23

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After 13 years of arguments and presenting evidence about whether Dr Wouter Basson had acted unprofessionally when he manufactured and provided substances to the apartheid South African Defence Force (SADF) for the purpose of fighting "enemies of the state", he has been found guilty on all four charges brought against him.

The charges relate to his participation in the apartheid chemical and biological warfare unit, known as Project Coast, and later, Delta G.

Basson, who was not present when the ruling was made, manufactured and provided poisonous substances to the then SADF, which were used to fight enemies of the state.

Some of the toxic substances, like cyanide, were given to soldiers to use to commit suicide in case they were caught. Other substances were used by the soldiers to kidnap enemies of the state across the country's borders.

Professor Jannie Hugo, chairperson of the tribunal which was presiding over Basson’s matter, rejected Basson’s defence that he had acted as a soldier and not a doctor when he manufactured and provided poisonous substances to the army.

He said: “Basson was a doctor before being a soldier. “He was employed as a military doctor. He took the Hippocratic Oath that he would preserve and save lives but he contravened those ethics when he involved himself in Project Coast,” he said.

Hugo also dismissed claims by Basson that he didn’t act unethically when he provided substances for the cross-border kidnapping operation because there was no doctor-patient relationship with the target.

The tribunal also found that Basson could not use the excuse that he was a young, inexperienced doctor who was unaware of medical ethics at the time he was project officer for Project Coast.

Advocate Salie Joubert, who represented the pro-forma complainant in the matter, said he was very happy that justice had finally been served.

He refused to elaborate further. Basson’s lawyer refused to speak to City Press.

The matter was postponed for sentencing on February 20 2014.

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