'Marikana could have been prevented'

'Dr Death' says the chemicals he helped to develop should have been used to prevent Marikana.

Apartheid-era chemical warfare expert Wouter Basson says Marikana could've been prevented if police deployed the types of chemicals he developed for the defence force in the 1980s. Picture:EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Wouter Basson says if police had deployed the types of chemicals he was developing for the defence force in the 1980s, the Marikana massacre would never have happened.

Miners had embarked on an unprotected strike to demand higher wages.

Yesterday, the apartheid-era chemical warfare expert was found guilty of unprofessional conduct by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) after a six year hearing.

The cardiologist dubbed 'Doctor Death', weaponised mortars and manufactured substances to be used in combat and kidnapping missions and was involved in the establishment of a chemical weapons production facility during apartheid.

The HPCSA found that Basson's involvement in the development of chemicals to incapacitate people and fit them to mortar shells was unethical.

But Basson says this work was to prevent harm not cause it.

"If they had the things we developed at that stage, or were busy developing it before Marikana, it would never have happened. It was our job to prevent such things from happening."

"There isn't a single piece of evidence in this country available to that effect."

Meanwhile, the HPCSA has welcomed the verdict against Basson.

Registrar Buyiswa Mjamba-Matshoba said justice has been served and ethics upheld in the profession.

"Ethics are ethics whether you are in war or in peace and as a registered professional, you have to uphold ethics and ensure all your behaviour is ethical."

The South African Medical Association's Poppy Ramathuba said the verdict sends a clear message to all medical practitioners to never be used by any state to participate in war.

She said doctors have a duty to provide healthcare and preserve life.

Basson will be sentenced in February.