Basson calls expert witness

2013-04-15 13:31
Wouter Basson (Picture: AFP)

Wouter Basson (Picture: AFP)

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

Pretoria - Cape Town cardiologist Wouter Basson called a renowned toxicologist, to testify on his behalf at his ethical conduct hearing in Pretoria on Monday.

Stellenbosch University Professor Gert Jacobus Muller gave evidence on toxic chemicals and poisons, including those used in warfare.

"A toxic chemical means any chemical that, through its chemical action on life processes, can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm to humans or animals," Muller told the court.

"This includes all chemicals, regardless of their origin or of their method of production. It is a dose that determines whether a chemical is a poison or not. If you take in 250g of table salt in one shot it is probably potentially lethal."

He said even water could cause intoxication.

He gave the categories of chemicals, including irritants used in teargas and their effects.

Basson's lawyer, Jaap Cilliers, led Muller in giving his evidence in chief.

Earlier, Muller told the Health Professions Council of SA committee chairing the hearing he had been a medical practitioner for 45 years.

He had worked in South Africa and England, and had written various medical journals and books.

The hearing was postponed in December 2012 because Muller had a heart attack two weeks before he was due to take the witness stand.

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

Another Basson witness, former surgeon general Dr Niel Knobel, is recuperating from open-heart surgery.

Charged with acting unethically

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

He is also accused of acting unethically by providing disorientating substances for cross-border kidnappings, and by making cyanide capsules for operatives to use to commit suicide in case of capture.

US medical ethics expert 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 was a soldier and not a doctor when he headed the country's chemical and biological warfare programme.

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

Basson argues the surgeon general at the time was in charge of the programme and that he carried out orders as a soldier.

Read more on:    unita  |  university of stellenbosch  |  jaap cilliers  |  wouter basson  |  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.
NEXT ON NEWS24X 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

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.


Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
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.