Young, inexperienced ‘Dr Death’ was following orders – Basson lawyer

2013-11-15 15:02

Dr Wouter Basson was a young and inexperienced doctor who was merely following orders when he manufactured and supplied poisonous substances which were used to drug people for the purpose of arresting them, the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) tribunal has heard.

Advocate Jaap Cilliers, who is representing Basson at the hearing where he faces charges relating to unprofessional conduct, told the tribunal that his client “acted as a soldier and not as a medical doctor when he provided those substances”.

“Mr Basson was not practising as a medical doctor when he was the project officer for Project Coast (a chemical and biological warfare research unit of the South African Defence Force). So there was no doctor-patient relationship with the people on whom the substances were used,” he explained.

“What should Mr Basson have done when he was given an order as a soldier with knowledge of chemistry to supply a drug which will disorientate a person, for the purpose of arrest, who was planting bombs in South Africa?”

But the chairperson of the tribunal, Professor Jannie Hugo, dismissed his submission saying Basson was a medical specialist at the time he was appointed as project officer for Project Coast, which meant he was experienced and knew the ethics of the profession.

The programme was used to manufacture poisonous substances that were used by the defence force to fight enemies of the state.

Hugo said: “The fact that he supplied these drugs to be used on cross-border grabs is a clear indication that the persons who were drugged did not give consent to have these drugs used on them.

“The drugs could have harmed the people as well,” Hugo said.

But Cilliers said: “These drugs were not intended to harm but disorientate a person for 30 to 60 seconds so that he could be arrested.”

The hearing continues.

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. 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

Traffic Alerts
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.