AfriForum’s ethics complaint dismissed

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KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo

Durban - An AfriForum complaint of unethical and unprofessional conduct against KZN health MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, as well as the former surgeon-general, has been thrown out.

Dhlomo spoke on Thursday morning about the complaint lodged against him based on his admissions to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for his role in the bombings in Durban in 1985.

He said that the attack on his integrity “smacked of racism” and challenged lobby group Afriforum to prove otherwise.

Afriforum had brought the complaint against Dhlomo and former Chatsworth doctor and former surgeon-general, Lieutenant-General Vejaynand Ramlakan, with the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA).

AfriForum based its complaint on the council’s ethics finding against Dr Wouter Basson for his actions as the head of the apartheid-era chemical and biological weapons programme

Dhlomo said on Thursday that appearing before the TRC had been voluntary and a very painful experience, but necessary for closure and for national reconciliation.

He referred to the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act which prohibits information revealed before the TRC being used as evidence in criminal proceedings in a court of law or a statutory body.

HPCSA spokeswoman Lize Nel said: “The Council will not be able to investigate and prosecute this complaint without simultaneously contravening the stated provisions of the Act.”

Dhlomo called the complaint “an unfortunate, blinded pursuit of publicity.”

“AfriForum failed to research my role as an MK soldier and what this meant.

“Being a soldier of the ANC’s military wing did not rely on medical expertise, but rather on the overriding sense of justice to fight against atrocities committed by a brutal and racist system... based on a racial divide.”

Provincial ANC spokesman Senzo Mkhize said AfriForum had missed the point.

He lambasted AfriForum for using the HPCSA’s decision to “harass ANC cadres”.

“Basson used his profession as a doctor to produce chemicals for warfare. He used the know-how, skills and position as a medical doctor to develop chemicals to kill,” said Mkhize.

Basson is to be sanctioned next month after the council found he had acted unprofessionally and unethically in his role as head of the apartheid regime’s biological and chemical weapons programme.

Dhlomo, who was a final-year medical student at the time, said that “using one’s medical skills to maim and kill was carried out by Nazi doctors in concentration camps where they inflicted unspeakable atrocities on their victims by using their medical knowledge”.

“This is not how we operate within the ANC.”

He said the lack of understanding by AfriForum left him wondering about the ideals of the organisation.

“Their weak attempt to to dig up the past based on a lack of understanding... speaks volumes and must be condemned in the strongest terms.”

Dhlomo said the “attack by AfriForum on my integrity smacks of racism and I challenge them to prove otherwise”

But the group is not giving up. Chief executive, Kallie Kriel, said they would be seeking legal advice and prepared to take the matter to the courts.

“We have not been told about the case being thrown out. If this is true then clearly the HPCSA is driven by political motives and the ruling confirms this. We will not accept such a ruling and will be reviewing the matter with our legal team once we have all the facts.”

MK provincial chairman, Themba Mavundla, said Afriforum had “selective amnesia.”

“Apartheid was declared a crime against humanity.

“To lay a complaint against someone who stood up against it is wrong.”

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