Chief witness in Basson case speaks

Prof Steven Miles testified because of the discussion involving doctors who helped the apartheid govt.

Last week the HPCSA ruled Wouter Basson was ethically unfit to practice as a doctor. Picture:AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The Health Professions Council of South Africa's chief witness against Dr Wouter Basson says he agreed to testify against him because of the discussion South Africa is having about doctors who helped the apartheid regime.

Professor Steven Miles testified that Basson had behaved unethically by providing cyanide suicide pills to soldiers and of running a chemical weapons programme.

Last week, the council ruled that Basson was ethically unfit to practice as a doctor.

Miles says he agreed to come to South Africa to testify in this case because this is part of a long-running discussion.

"South Africa has been involved in a long discussion about the role of the medicine in support of the apartheid regime beginning with the death of Steven Biko, and this was another aspect of that."

Basson was acquitted of the criminal charges against him by the Constitutional Court.

However, Miles says there is a difference between illegal behaviour and unprofessional behaviour by a doctor.