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Wouter Basson found guilty of unprofessional conduct

By Sapa | Dec 18, 2013 | COMMENTS [ 44 ]

Apartheid-era chemical warfare expert Dr Wouter Basson is guilty of unprofessional conduct, the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) ruled on Wednesday.

"In the light of all the circumstances, the breaches amount to unprofessional conduct... the respondent is guilty of unprofessional conduct," HPCSA professional conduct committee chairman Prof Jannie Hugo said in Pretoria.

Basson had presented nine arguments at an inquiry into his conduct in which he claimed he acted as a soldier and not a doctor, and that he was not aware of the ethics.

Hugo said Basson contravened international protocols and conventions. These were the Geneva Declaration of 1948 and the UN convention on the prohibition of and stockpiling of dangerous weapons.

"The respondent confused ethics of a doctor with that of a soldier while discharging his duties. A doctor cannot rely on military orders to escape the consequences of his duties."

Hugo said if a doctor decided to use his medical knowledge and skills and consequently contravene medical ethics, he should deregister as a medical practitioner.

The six-year-long inquiry related to Basson's involvement in Project Coast, between the 1980s and early 1990s.

Basson was 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 making cyanide capsules available for distribution to operatives for use in committing suicide.

In 2002, Basson was acquitted by the 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.

The State appealed against the decision in the Supreme Court of Appeal, but the appeal was dismissed. The State then went to the Constitutional Court but it was dismissed in September 2005.

Sentencing would take place on February 20 and 21 next year.

COMMENTS [ 44 ]

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This bl00dy demon did terrible things and far too many people walked away from apartheid crimes unscathed.
He is not a doctor, he lost that privilege when he murdered people

Dec 19, 2013 2:55 | 0 replies

This man committed crimes against humanity. How is it possible that he is still walking around.

To all sowetanlive readers and bloggers I apologise for the crimes that this man did in the name of perpetuating white supremacy.

Dec 18, 2013 3:4 | 0 replies

MC, all over the world, doctors and scientist, today, do much, much more than Basson ever did. Some are "brought to justice" when times change, but most get away with it. The perfect little world where all doctors are good people, and everyone gets to live forever does not exist. And that is the reason Basson got away with it in a court of law. When they are caught, they lose their medical licence, and I have no problem with that, but let's not pretend this does not exist all over the world, and isn't the norm for almost every country working at defending themselves in case of a possible war.

Dec 18, 2013 3:3 | 0 replies

MommaC - For the record, I completely understand why basson lost his license. Surprised he managed to hold onto it for so long.

Dec 18, 2013 3:3 | 0 replies

MommaC - "Look at this from the perspective of the medical profession for a second. If you have doctors going around using their medical knowledge to create weapons or using their knowledge to torture or using their knowledge to harm people - where does that put the profession?"


And if you make criminals and terrorist bombers, policemen?

Dec 18, 2013 3:2 | 0 replies

!#Sinudeity#!

If Basson had done this before taking the oath, the oath would not be binding and he would not have his medical license taken away.

Look at this from the perspective of the medical profession for a second. If you have doctors going around using their medical knowledge to create weapons or using their knowledge to torture or using their knowledge to harm people - where does that put the profession?

The only reason that (other than some really effed up places) organisations, such as Doctors Without Borders or the Red Cross are able to do their job, is because they are considered to be non-combatants. The minute they become combatants, they then become targets. Not so? If the medical profession simply turns a blind eye, soon all the doctors and nurses out there are seen as combatants.

I know the world is no longer a place of honesty or morals but I do hope that the doctors, priests and journalists can try to remain non targets in wars for a little while longer.

Dec 18, 2013 3:0 | 0 replies

MommaC - Geez mommac, when do you realise that I see the oath as merely as a ceremonial thing from Plato's day? I dont give a f*** about the oath, which you keep going on and on about.


Let. me. talk. slower. so. that. you. can. understand.

Doctors, civil servants. Policemen, civil servants. Mcbride, and Basson. Both appeared before TRC. The one gets his medical license revoked, for crimes against humanity. Police, meant to serve and protect. The other person, who committed crimes against humanity, has gotten the nod to retain an important job in the police services.


Do you not see the hypocrisy?

Dec 18, 2013 2:50 | 0 replies

!#Sinudeity#!

Geez, Sin!
which part of the Dr Who episode had McBomber go directly from the ceremony where he swore to serve and protect - back in time - to blow up folk? You'd think he'd have known what was coming if that happened!

Dec 18, 2013 2:44 | 0 replies

MommaC - "I don't think McBomber should ever have got the job in the first place. I don't, however, think it is fair to expect him to be called an oath breaker for something he did decades before he even took the oath."


If you are an 'oath breaker', then you should not have been offered the position in the 1st place. The reason why its relevant, is because mcbride is trying to get his job back now.

Dec 18, 2013 2:40 | 0 replies

MommaC - "A doctor is supposed to be a healer of all (enemy, friendly, indifferent or just caught in the middle)."


And a policemen is supposed to be a protector of all.

Dec 18, 2013 2:38 | 0 replies

BOKKER - Thats all fine and well. Now we just need to wait for a mcbride apology. Which were also crimes against humanity.

Dec 18, 2013 3:6 | 0 replies