Find Basson guilty - council

2013-11-14 21:42
Wouter Basson (Picture: AFP)

Wouter Basson (Picture: AFP)

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Pretoria - Dr Wouter Basson should be found guilty of professional misconduct, the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) said on Thursday.

"The charges against Dr Basson have been proven overwhelmingly [and] a conviction on all charges is clearly and without any doubt the only conclusion that this tribunal can come to," Salie Joubert, for the HPCSA, said at the hearing in Pretoria.

Basson is the former head of the apartheid government’s secret chemical and biological warfare project.

"We submit that Dr Basson be found guilty in respect of counts two, four, five, and six."

Joubert was presenting closing argument after a six-year-long inquiry into Basson's professional conduct.

He said Basson adopted an arrogant attitude and displayed "convenient amnesia".

"In fact he fails to take responsibility and brushes aside criticism to pretend that he had been a soldier and not a medical practitioner, but had remained a medical practitioner registered throughout the relevant period."

"This was clear when he testified about the effects of CR and tried to convey that it causes a burning sensation like eating peri-peri prawns."

CR is an eye irritant, known as teargas.

Basson was cross-examined about the possible side effects of CR and the purchase of prostaglandins during Project Coast.

"He confirmed he purchased prostaglandins, but when asked why, he persistently conveyed he can't remember... clearly convenient amnesia," Joubert said.

Basson failed dismally to exonerate himself and was an unreliable witness, said Joubert.

He had at all stages been aware that he acted in an unprofessional manner and took part in criminal conduct, he said.

‘Acting unethically’

Basson’s charges arise from his involvement in the apartheid government's chemical and biological warfare programme in the 1980s and early 1990s.

He is accused of acting unethically by being involved in the large-scale production of Mandrax, cocaine, and tear gas, of weaponising tear gas, 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 available for operatives for use in committing suicide if captured.

In 2002, Basson was acquitted by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria of criminal charges arising from his conduct.

The HPCSA reviewed the judgment to establish if there were grounds to continue with an inquiry against Basson.

The State appealed against the high court's decision in the Supreme Court of Appeal, but the appeal was dismissed.

The State then went to the Constitutional Court to appeal the decision. This was also dismissed in September 2005.

Read more on:    hpcsa  |  wouter basson

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