The Health Professions Council of SA has suffered yet another defeat in its protracted legal battles with apartheid-era Dr Wouter Basson, according to Rapport. The Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) dismissed the HPCSA’s application for leave to appeal a judgment ordering the recusal of two tribunal members who found him guilty of unethical conduct in December 2013.
The HPCSA had argued the judgment would have far-reaching consequences for the functioning of the regulatory body as members of medical associations would not be able to make themselves available for disciplinary hearings of colleagues.
The report says Judge Sulet Potterill rejected this argument, saying Professors Jannie Hugo and Eddie Mhlanga could merely have declared at the beginning of the disciplinary hearing that they are members of the SA Medical Association, but that they never signed the association’s petition seeking Basson’s removal from register of doctors.
By refusing to answer Basson’s lawyers on the issue and continuing to find Basson guilty despite knowing about pending litigation on the issue, they created grounds for their recusal.
The report says Judge Potterill held that HPCSA has no reasonable prospects of a successful appeal, particularly because the SCA has already considered the matter and referred it back to the High Court. She again made a cost order against the HPCSA.Rapport report (subscription needed)