THE ongoing revision of apartheid history by South Africa’s media has ratcheted up another notch with the publication of a hagiography of Wouter Basson in the conservative Mail and Guardian. The piece praising the man nicknamed Dr Death, and responsible for the apartheid regime’s bioweapons programme, comes as the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is investigating Basson for professional malpractice and ethics violations.
On Friday 22 November, journalist Mia Malan attempted to recast Basson, the man responsible for the apartheid-era dirty tricks programme known as Project Coast, which included illegal experimentation on live subjects and the murder of anti-apartheid activists, as an ‘exceptional and talented cardiologist’.
The piece appears to be in response to a publicity drive by Basson who was also responsible for producing psychiatric drugs such as MDMA and Methamphetamine which flooded the townships during the closing stages of the civil conflict and who also worked on a race-virus targeting South Africa black population, amongst other dirty tricks. Now, a counter-suite against Basson’s detractors, pending the outcome of the medical hearing, is not out of the question as apartheid revisionism renders South African history nothing more than a fiction.
The piece purports to carry comments from Basson’s patients praising his skills as a doctor, as well as comment from members of the medical profession, in particular the South African Heart Association.
“The South African Heart Association, which represents the professional interests of cardiologists in the country, considers his skills to be “exceptional”.
“According to the organisation’s president, Adriaan Snyders, who has known him for 20 years, there is “no doubt” that Basson is “one of the top cardiologists in South Africa, – and his scientific knowledge is outstanding”.
Basson has been able to hit back at his critics, armed with a judgement from a failed Post-TRC prosecution. In 2002, Basson was acquitted by the [Gauteng North] High Court in Pretoria of criminal charges arising from his conduct during the civil conflict.
Reasons for the lack of a conviction appear to be related to the manner in which evidence was presented by the prosecution and the state’s inability to provide a moral and ethical framework for such prosecutions.
Although the activities of South Africa’s own MK Ultra programme known as Project Coast are well-documented by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the problem of holding officials accountable for their actions under the present government continues to be a problem. The resulting apartheid denial and revision of history as the legal system, followed by the media, enters the world of fable, is plain to see.
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