Durban - Complaints of “unprofessional and unethical conduct” have been lodged against Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo and former Chatsworth doctor Lieutenant-General Vejaynand Ramlakan, who was until last year the country’s surgeon-general.
Six doctors and lobby group AfriForum want them to be sanctioned by the country’s medical regulatory body for their alleged roles in ANC bomb attacks in 1985.
AfriForum chief executive Kallie Kriel said the complaints were brought after Dr Wouter Basson was found guilty of unprofessional conduct by the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) last month for his actions as the head of the apartheid-era chemical and biological weapons programme, Project Coast.
SANDF spokesman Siphiwe Dlamini, responding on behalf of Ramlakan, said: “For there to be such a thinking in this day and age is outrageous and sad. It is really really sad to say the least.”
Ramlakan was Nelson Mandela’s physician for some years.
Dhlomo said he had already requested a copy of the complaint from the HPCA and would need to read it before he could respond.
Kriel said on Sunday that his organisation had filed a complaint against Dhlomo and Ramlakan in the interests of “protecting the constitutional principle of equality before the law”.
The complaint, outlined by AfriForum in a statement on Friday, stems from the two medical doctors’ admissions to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 2000, that “they had supplied explosive devices during the ANC’s Operation Butterfly for a series of attacks on inter alia civilian targets”, said Kriel.
The former members of the ANC’s armed wing were practising doctors during the attacks and are still registered as practitioners.
“If the HPCSA are going to act on ethical grounds against Wouter Basson for his role in the conflict of the past, it is only fair to expect of the HPCSA to act on ethical grounds against other medical practitioners involved in bombings during the same conflict, where people were hurt or killed, or where the possibility existed that people might have been hurt or killed,” said Kriel.
His organisation preferred that the country “move on” rather than start prosecuting for deeds done under apartheid, “because it would open up wounds”.
“If this route will be taken (regarding) conflict of the past, then it should not be selective,” he said,
Ramlakan, who stepped down as surgeon-general in March, had admitted to the TRC his involvement in the 1985 bombing of the home of politician Amichand Rajbansi and the Chatsworth Magistrate’s Court.
According to the TRC transcripts, he also admitted that people were injured in some of the other attacks executed by people under his command. In the same transcripts, Dhlomo also admitted before the TRC that he had supplied explosive devices for various explosions in Durban on September 27, 1985, at the OK Bazaars, Game, Spar and Checkers stores. He was involved in two other incidents that year – at Grosvenor Girls’ High and the Executive Hotel in uMlazi.
Afriforum said Dhlomo had also transported Andrew Zondo, the man who had planted a deadly bomb in eManzimtoti, from the Swaziland border to Durban.
Kriel said six other medical practitioners had also submitted independent complaints against Ramlakan and Dhlomo. He said they were not Afriforum members and had lodged the complaints on their own volition.
HPCSA spokeswoman, Lize Nel, confirmed they had received a letter from the legal representatives of the six medical practitioners. It would be investigated, she said.
Nel could not confirm receipt of AfriForum’s complaint, which Kriel said was sent by e-mail on Friday.
Kriel said: “We are not suggesting that the HPCSA should have not acted against Basson – this is not about him as an individual, or coming to his defence in any way – we have not even spoken to him. We are just interested in the constitutional principle of equality before the law.”
The HPCSA is to sanction Basson next month.