The Health Professions Councilis to launch a fresh disciplinary action against apartheid era chemical warfare specialist Dr Wouter Basson, writes MedicalBrief. The HPCSA's earlier R20m, eight-year pursuit of Basson collapsed when both the Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court refused to hear the HPCSA's appeal against a High Court judgment that described the HPCSA's efforts against Basson as a "comedy of errors" that had "extended over an unsavoury length of time".
In 2013 a disciplinary panel of the HPCSA found Basson, dubbed Dr Death by the media, guilty in 2013 of unprofessional conduct for his involvement in the chemical warfare programme, Project Coast, but the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) later ruled two of the three panel members should have recused themselves. In its application for leave to appeal , the HPCSA submitted that it would be severely hampered in future disciplinary proceedings if the principles in the High Court judgment were allowed to stand.
At the time, HPCSA spokesperson Daphney Chuma said: “If the judgment is to be applied, it will impact extensively on the ability of practitioners who are members of various professional associations to make themselves available as members of committees of preliminary inquiry, alternatively professional conduct committees. ”
Basson had claimed that the disciplinary committee’s chairperson‚ Prof Jannie Hugo‚ and another committee member‚ Prof Eddie Mhlanga, were biased. “The basis for the application for recusal was that Professor Hugo was a member of the SA Medical Association and the Rural Doctors Association of South Africa, both of whom had petitioned the Professional Conduct Committee to have Dr Wouter Basson’s name removed from the roll of registered practitioners arising from the guilty finding,” Chuma said.
The Constitutional Court refused to hear the HPCSA appeal, concurring with the Supreme Court of Appeal that it had no reasonable prospects of succeeding.
Fin24 reports that the announcement of the HPCSA renewed efforts follows recent social media complaints over Basson, a cardiologist, using a private hospital's facilities in Cape Town. Basson practises as cardiologist at two Mediclinic facilities. Spokesperson Priscilla Sekhonyane said the council would start disciplinary proceedings against Basson afresh and a date would be finalised once a committee was established to do so.
Full Fin24 report (Access restricted)
See also other articles on Dr Wouter Basson from the MedicalBrief archives