Wouter Basson applies for discharge

2012-01-26 15:48

Pretoria - Cardiologist Wouter Basson on Thursday applied for his discharge on six charges of unprofessional conduct relating to his time as head of South Africa's chemical and biological warfare programme.

Basson was not present for his hearing before a professional conduct committee of the Health Professions Council of SA, but legal argument continued in his absence in the North Gauteng High Court.

Jaap Cilliers SC, appearing for Basson, argued no case had been made on which his client could be found guilty of unethical or unprofessional conduct.

Adding that Basson was entitled to a discharge on all of the charges, Basson maintained he had acted as a soldier in a war.

His involvement as head of the apartheid government's chemical and biological warfare programme had been aimed at developing a defensive capability for the SA Defence Force.

Cilliers argued that the two medical ethics experts who testified for the prosecution had contradicted each other, and that there was no evidence on which Basson could be convicted, unless he was called to the witness box and incriminated himself.

Cilliers argued that preference should be given to the evidence of Professor Solomon Benatar, a local expert who had knowledge of the situation prevailing at the time and was of the opinion that Basson had not acted unethically.

He argued that the evidence of American expert Professor Steven Miles was based on extracts from the evidence in Basson's criminal trial, some of which should never have been placed before him.

‘Traitor to his own soldiers’

Miles was also an American with no knowledge of the situation and legislation prevailing at the time, he said.

Miles steadfastly maintained that Basson had unethically used his medical skills and knowledge when he participated in the large scale manufacturing of tear-gasses and drugs such as ecstasy and Mandrax, armed mortars with tear gas, provided drugs for cross-border kidnapping operations and operatives with cyanide for suicide purposes, for use in case they were captured.

Pro forma prosecutor Salie Joubert argued that Basson had implicated himself in acting unprofessionally in both his plea explanation and in his evidence in his criminal trial, in which Basson was acquitted on charges ranging from murder to fraud.

Joubert said there were literally volumes of evidence against Basson which clearly showed he had transgressed all of the codes applicable to medical ethics.

Medical ethics in times of conflict were exactly the same as in times of peace and Basson had clearly used his medical office and knowledge in a way contrary to preserving and protecting human life, he said.

"He was not a minor player.... He not only tested weapons. He went to the battlefield with weapons of his own design. He acted with utter disregard for human lives when he provided Scoline [an anaesthetic] for over-the-border grab operations.

"He acted as a traitor to his own soldiers when he provided them with cyanide capsules. You don't just pop it into your mouth and die. It's a terrible way to die," Joubert said.

Joubert argued there was enough evidence to convict Basson on four of the charges, and that it would be unfair to discharge him at this stage. The committee was expected to rule on the application on Friday.

  • Makatikamusona - 2012-01-26 16:13

    Mnr Basson does this mean you have no moral, can't apply your mind. Infact are you programmed? If you are then execute a command "kill self"

      John - 2012-01-26 17:32


      Makatikamusona - 2012-01-26 19:36

      You only say that because he is white,well if he was a normal human being his conscious would have gotten to him and he could defy orders if they were. He don't not deserve to live among us because he might kills us all.

  • Shirley - 2012-01-26 16:17

    This is a grey area. Where do we draw the line in war-bombs kill,guns kill,satelites can zone in and point out a target hundreds of miles away. I neither agree nor disagree as there are compelling arguments on both sides and I think the average citizen would be shocked to know just what weapons todays government are researching and have developed. To go on one opinion is also not fair as because this involves medicine there are opinions which are polar opposites. These weapons mentioned did not stop over night and for all we know are still part of todays armourment?

  • Yannis - 2012-01-26 16:21

    Basson did nothing wrong. He is scientist and a doctor who saved more lives than any of you hatred souls. furthermore he started and developed the first surgical miltary field hospital that could be aprachuted into operational zones and is used worldwide now to save lives. He was even employed by the ANC government.

      paulmandlankosi - 2012-01-26 19:40

      Do you have the evidence to back that?

  • Comrade - 2012-01-26 16:22

    Who was worse...Basson who worked as a chemist obeying instructions from his superiors...or Juliass Malema, who legitimised genicide against our farmers and incites hatred towards European race groups. ??????

      Comrade - 2012-01-26 16:39

      Juliass Malema is the greatest threat this country has ever known...worse than appartheid...and yet he builds a 16million mansion and is worshiped by the people who condemn Basson....go figure!

      Anthony - 2012-01-26 18:25

      Wow !!!! Do we have massive problems in our country. A few days ago, I got 700 plus , 'thumbs down' for daring to suggest to let Jackie Selebi go.........who is jailed for taking R160 000 in bribes. It looks like the same ones, who want Selebi to rot in jail ( and even worse !!!), are falling over each other, in praise of the Wouter Basson!!!!,..........Go Figure !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • acsteyn - 2012-01-26 16:30

    Although brilliant at his job. I think he used his extra-ordinary talents for extremely evil uses. And. I think he should have known better. He could not have been ignorant of the potential consequences of his actions and just this notion should have triggered the Oath under which he promised to assist and help other people. This must come to an end. What example does a man of his stature send to other potential medical students and the value of the oath has been breached here beyond repair.

      John - 2012-01-26 17:57

      He is brilliant at his job and is acknowledged as such by both peers and scholars

  • eddiebant - 2012-01-26 16:31

    Basson, brilliant in his work,was used by his seniors to do a legal job those days.His expertise was misused but not for his benefit.He is a clever doctor and should be allowed to serve his country the way he prefer now.Many bad things happened on both sides and many got away with it.

  • john.duplessis2 - 2012-01-26 16:35

    Wouter Basson is a brilliant of the best this country ever produced. You can say what you want but he did more good than bad and that is a fact.Sargon/makatika, you are quick to point a you have the ability to do what he did? Do you even have the intellect to be in a one on one conversation with the man? Somehow I doubt that very much. Sticks and know!?

      Bokfan - 2012-01-26 17:00

      Doppie you are probably the sort of guy who deep down admires Hitler for resurrecting Germany in the 30s.Especially those cool ss and Gestapo uniforms. Not to mention the rallies. I'll bet you also like guns but have a real fetish for edged weapons and WW2 memorabilia. Tell me I'm wrong. But be honest now.

      Jou - 2012-01-26 17:16

      Bokfan you just described any dude anywhere in the world...not just in South Africa.

      john.duplessis2 - 2012-01-26 19:46

      Aah Bokfan, you failed! You applied Godwin's law to this argument! Google it...

  • Bokfan - 2012-01-26 16:56

    Wouter Basson is a war criminal. He should be inside with De Kock and Derby-Lewis plus a whole bunch of old time Natzis. Of course they should also be joined by legions of their former enemies now in governot.

      John - 2012-01-26 17:33


  • Andre - 2012-01-26 16:56

    It is clearly a witch-hunt against a brilliant doctor. He did not act as a medical practioner during the war, but as a scientist with a clear instruction from the generals. The war is long forgotten and we all were sucked, leave the pitty rubbish and rather focus on all the bogus dr's doing major surgery all over the country. We hear nothing about hearings and charges to this regard, do we?

  • Pietertjie - 2012-01-26 16:57

    HPCSA: vlieg in julle moer in.

      Jou - 2012-01-26 17:17


      George - 2012-01-26 17:33

      Pietertjie Well said. You deserve a medal. What these idiots do not realise is that when you are in war you do not get emotional. Nobody said something as bad as this when Osama Bin Laden killed people in america and in fact all over the world. Yes he is dead now and so is Saddam Hoesein and Gadaffi. Wouter acted under command in a time of war. As far as I am concerned he did nothing wrong and he should be allowed to practice. His trial cost him millions and the ANC corrupt commits crime and the taxpayer must pay for their trials to millions. Wouter Basson has paid everything from his pocket only to be aquitted. It is time that this country wakes up and smell the roses. When McBride planted a bomb at that night club he was sent to prison. He did his time came out and became chief of police. so if you want to complain , all of you , complain about the inhumane acts of these idiots too. Don't be selective because he did in in apartheid. Mcbride also did and today he is pardoned and we do not hear a word about it. this is purely a racial thing and people will use this forum to get racial and emotional when it suits them.

  • Rory - 2012-01-26 17:02

    To all these detractors - please stop being so naive ! Clearly you've never been involved in war. Then again, maybe if your heart was about to fail you'd consider him in a different light ?

  • John - 2012-01-26 17:32

    THE MAN HAS NEVER BEEN FOUND GUILTY OF ONE CHARGE IN A COURT OF LAW, DESPITE NUMEROUS ATTEMPTS AND CHARGED. "..... in his evidence in his criminal trial, in which Basson was acquitted on charges ranging from murder to fraud".

      paulmandlankosi - 2012-01-26 18:22

      But I do not see him surviving this time around

  • sandy.langenstrass - 2012-01-26 18:08

    At the time, this country was at come we don't put all the ANC members that were involved with the bombs going off in shopping centres, with no discrimination of who they killed... young..old.. black..white. Amanzintoti are even naming a street after the man that killed 3/4 people in Sanlam centre with a bomb...clearly, this is double standards.

      Shirley - 2012-01-26 18:16

      Expect nothing less.

  • Christel - 2012-01-26 18:19

    Let the poor man out of jail, for heavens sake.

      paulmandlankosi - 2012-01-26 18:45

      Who is in jail?

      Anthony - 2012-01-26 18:58

      @Christel, I agree !!!! Jackie Selebi should be freed !!!!!!!

      paulmandlankosi - 2012-01-26 19:41

      Oh! You mean oom Jackie, I second that, release him

  • Benmica - 2012-01-26 19:36

    Soldier in war, murdere is nearer to the truth.

  • Johnnie - 2012-01-26 20:55

    A lot of people who want to try and make a name for themselves hammering a man who has done more good than harm. He has oer all the years not been found guilty of anything-leave the man in peace, so that he can carry on with his work,which is more important than the hours wasted by this prosecutor on this case. He will not make a name for himself.

      Bonga Mthembu - 2012-01-26 21:09

      This is exactly the problem with reconciliation especially if one side is begging the other! @ the Nuremburg trials the Nazi's defence was exactly the same but unfortunately for them they had chosen the wrong group of people to be atrocious to. Whereas for us its different, if there is a God then surely he has reserved a better place for us in heaven cause this has been and still is hell.......

      john.duplessis2 - 2012-01-26 22:01

      Mthembu, you are an confused individual. Do you even know who Wouter Basson is? get rid of your victim mentality my is getting rather old now.

  • sandy.langenstrass - 2012-01-27 08:48

    @Anthony, you compare Selebi and Basson, neither are saints. But the one gent committed his crime when he was a free man, Basson, committed his crime under orders, when our country was in a form of cilvil war...big difference. In most of these posts that have a black verses white, one reads between the lines, and it's full of conjecture. How do we honestly expect the two cultures to come to the same conclusions, when our backgrounds are vastly different. So all we can hope to do is not belittle each other when one feels day the two will find common ground....maybe not in my life...but or childrens lives. This is my dearest wish.

      Anthony - 2012-01-27 09:56

      @Sandra, In that case, we share the same wish !!!!

  • urs.wernli - 2012-01-28 08:38

    This guy Wouter Basson is a criminal crock and was the link to ashamed country like Switzerland, a very dirty stupid country was supporting the Apartheid Criminals to kill the black people with chemicals. Urs Wernli

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