Basson granted recusal bid

A North Gauteng high court judge on Friday granted apartheid-era chemical warfare expert, Dr Wouter Basson, the right to apply for the recusal of Jannie Hugo and Eddie Mhlanga, both members of the  professional conduct committee of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). 

Basson, who was found guilty of unethical conduct for activities during the 1980s and 1990s when  he was head of the apartheid government’s chemical and biological warfare programme, filed an urgent court application on Monday. 

His sentencing hearing before the committee was put on hold  until the application was heard. 

Read: Dr Death outfoxes his pursuers

In the application the cardiologist sought to compel Hugo and Mhlanga to provide information  regarding their membership to any of the organisations that signed a petition calling for the removal  of Basson from the roll of medical practitioners brought before the committee.  

In the HPCSA’s answering affidavit to the interdict application, it emerged that Hugo, who is the  chairperson of the professional conduct committee, is a member of two of the organisations that  signed the petition: The South African Medical Association and the Rural Doctors Association of  South Africa.  

In his judgement Judge Bert Bam said the application involved Basson’s constitutional rights to a fair  trial. 

“Any litigation will therefore be entitled, if there are prima facie grounds to suspect that a  presiding officer in any trial, or enquiry like the one in hand, may be biased or that his or her mind  set could have been contaminated by any aspect outside the proceedings, to approach the court for  the appropriate relief,” said Bam. 

Basson can has ten days to apply for Hugo and Mhlanga’s recusal.  

The HPCSA was further  ordered to pay for the costs of the application.  

Basson’s teams have in the past prevailed with strategies that have worked to cause this hearing to drag on for 15 years after a complaint was filed against them in 2000.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

New play unearths apartheid doctor Basson’s trial

The stage play Coast,takes you back to Wouter Basson's court testimony regarding Project Coast that executed the murders of Swapo operatives

PODCAST: Examining Dr Death

How did a man who headed the apartheid-era chemical and biological warfare program Project Coast manage to stay in business in post-apartheid SA?

No ruling from Tim Noakes hearing, matter adjourned until April 2017

The former president of the Association for Dietetics in South Africa, Claire Julsing-Strydom, had lodged a complaint against Noakes.

Dr Death’s high court challenge dismissed

Wouter Basson, who headed the apartheid government's secret chemical and biological warfare project, has failed in his challenge against the HPCSA.

Judgement reserved in urgent application sought by Basson’s lawyers

Wouter Basson’s lawyer, Jaap Cilliers, said that his client "wouldn't have been a doctor by now" had he not brought the application.

Dr Death outfoxes his pursuers

After 14 years of delays, the Health Professions Council should have seen what was coming in the Wouter Basson case.

The PPE scandal that the Treasury hasn’t touched

Many government officials have been talking tough about dealing with rampant corruption in PPE procurement but the majority won't even release names of who has benefited from the R10-billion spend

ANC still at odds over how to tackle leaders facing...

The ANC’s top six has been mandated to work closely with its integrity committee to tackle claims of corruption against senior party members

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday