DR DEATH: Dr Wouter Basson was head of the apartheid government's chemical and biological warfare programme.Picture: Oupa Mokoena
DR DEATH: Dr Wouter Basson was head of the apartheid government's chemical and biological warfare programme.Picture: Oupa Mokoena

Twitter erupts after learning that Apartheid regime’s ’Dr Death’ is still treating patients

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Jan 19, 2021

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Durban - Twitter erupted today after it emerged that Dr Wouter Basson has been employed as a cardiologist at at least two Mediclinic facilities in the Western Cape.

According to reports, Basson, dubbed Dr Death, has been working at the facilities for the last 15 years.

According to the Mediclinic website, Basson practises at Mediclinic in Panorama and Durbanville.

Basson was the mastermind behind a chemical weapons project between 1980 and 1990 that manufactured suicide pills and poisonous gases for the apartheid government. His research extended to anti-fertility drugs for ethnic cleansing.

In response to the backlash on Twitter, Mediclinic said "by law doctors are independent practitioners and cannot be employed by Mediclinic Southern Africa. We cannot prohibit HPCSA registered doctors, including Dr Basson, from practising unless they are prevented by law from doing so".

But tweeps were having none of it.

Basson was charged with 67 charges, included drug possession, drug trafficking, fraud and embezzlement, murder, conspiracy to commit murder and theft. His trial kicked off in 1999 and later that same year, six important charges, including charges of murder and possible involvement in 200 deaths in Namibia, were dropped by the presiding judge. After 18 months of the trial, the number of charges were reduced to 46.

In 2006, the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) started its own process of investigating Basson’s conduct. A charge sheet was drawn up and the inquiry began in November 2007. Out of the seven charges levelled against Basson, four full indictments remain after the HPCSA discharged two charges and part of a third charge against him.

According to Wikipedia:

  • On May 10, 2010, the application by Basson to the South African High Court was rejected. The application to the High Court attempted to have the charges set aside as unlawful, unreasonable and unfair. The judge found that there was no evidence to suggest that the council was in any way biased or prejudiced against the doctor.
  • On December 18, 2013, the HPCSA found Basson guilty of unprofessional conduct on four charges. On June 4, 2014, sentencing procedure was postponed due to unavailability of counsel.
  • On March 27, 2019, six years after Basson was found guilty of unethical conduct by an HPCSA committee, the Gauteng High Court ruled that there was bias on the part of the committee members who presided over the disciplinary hearing. The judge ruled that the proceedings (instituted by the HPCSA against Basson) were irregular and unfair and illustrated a total disregard for the rights of Basson. The hearing (and, therefore, the finding of unethical conduct by the committee) was accordingly set aside.


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