JOHANNESBURG – The apartheid-era operative dubbed “Dr. Death” for his alleged role in plots to murder black activists vowed on Thursday not to resign from his job in the South African military.
Wouter Basson, who once headed the white government’s germ warfare programme,
has been receiving a monthly salary of 50,000 south african rand ($6,850) from the South African National Defence Force even though he was suspended in 1999.
“I have no moral or other obligation to resign the post. I did not suspend myself,” Basson told state broadcaster SABC, a day after officials confirmed the controversial cardiac surgeon still held a senior post at a military hospital in Pretoria.
Basson, who is working as a doctor in Cape Town, acknowledged he had a meeting with Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota this week to discuss the matter. Defence officials have promised to take action, but have not said what they plan to do.
A former brigadier general, Basson was accused of leading a series of poisoning plots that targeted anti-apartheid activists and involved gadgets such as screwdrivers concealing hypodermic needles and cigarettes laced with anthrax.
Basson was acquitted in 2002 of multiple murders, drug-trafficking, fraud and theft after one of the longest trials in South African history. He later said he had no regrets and suggested the accusations were misdirected and exaggerated.
South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority said last year he would not face trial for his alleged role in crimes outside South Africa despite a recommendation by the Constitutional Court that he be tried on charges of crimes against humanity. — Reuter