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Cape Town - The Kelvin Grove Club has refused to comment on a “motivational talk” given by apartheid-era chemical warfare expert Wouter Basson at the club.
Basson gave a lunch-time talk to a capacity crowd at the club last Friday.
Eleven years ago Basson was acquitted of 67 charges, including murder, fraud, certain drug offence charges and conspiracy to commit various crimes, by the Pretoria High Court.
This was relating to allegations against the controversial cardiologist during his stint as the head of the state’s secret chemical and biological warfare project, Project Coast, in the 1980s.
In the last few years, Basson – who works for Mediclinic as a support doctor in Panorama and Durbanville – has become a motivational speaker.
His latest “motivational talk” delivered at the Kelvin Grove Club has raised a few eyebrows with some on social networks questioning the club’s intentions in inviting Basson.
In an advertisement for the talk, the club described Basson as: “Nicknamed ‘Dr Death’ for his alleged actions in apartheid South Africa, Basson was acquitted in 2002 of 67 charges, after having been suspended from his military post with full pay in 1999.”
The club’s marketing manager, Corine Sharp, said: “I will not talk to you about this” before referring queries to the management who were not available.
Speaking to the Cape Times on Wednesday, Basson said he had given a talk about stress and conflict management on Friday.
Basson said he had someone who organised places and events for his talks but only knew the name of the venues about a week beforehand.
“I have thousands of these every year but I don’t know why this one (at Kelvin Grove) attracted so much attention.
“It was a great discussion. We had a great day with great people and great food.”
Referring to people who had objected to his public speeches, he said: “I think they are stupid and uninformed people. Obviously they were not following the court cases.
“There was nothing ever found against me by the High Court in Johannesburg.”
Basson said the talk at the Kelvin Grove club was his second for the year, but would not reveal details of the other.
“I don’t want to offend anyone,” he said.
Basson is facing a Health Professions Council of SA professional conduct inquiry into his involvement in Project Coast, which he managed for the apartheid-era government.
The inquiry is looking into Basson’s activities during his tenure as head of the top-secret arm.
Hearings were postponed to April following the unavailability of two key witnesses for a session in December.