Doctors are supposed to do no harm, but the doctors on this list have seemingly lost touch with that oath. The likes of Dr Nandipha Magudumana, Dr Peter Beeale and others have committed crimes one would not think a doctor would be capable of.
Briefly News looks at some of South Africa's doctors accused of some of the most horrific crimes.
1. Dr Nandipha Magudumana commits various offenses to help her boyfriend, Thabo Bester
Investigative journalism organisation GroundUp broke the news that Bester had escaped from Mangaung Correctional Service in Bloemfontein in May 2022 after faking his death.
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But in June 2022, Bester was snapped at a Woolworths in Sandton City while shopping for groceries alongside Dr Nandipha and her child. Although most eyes were on Bester and his elaborate escape plan, many South Africans wondered how an established doctor got involved with such a criminal.
According to Kaya 959, Dr Nandipha and Bester met in 2006, and she worked for his promotions company while she was a student at Wits University. The pair lost contact in 2013 when she married her husband, Dr Mukhuseli Magudumana.
In 2017, Dr Nandipha started visiting Bester in prison and by 2020, she wrote in an affidavit that she was married to the criminal. In 2022, Dr Nandipha and Bester lived an affluent life in Hyde Park and rented a R12 million mansion.
The couple also ran a fake construction company called Arum Properties that scammed businesses of thousands. After Bester's escape became public knowledge, the couple skipped the country and were recaptured in Tanzania.
Following Dr Nandipha's arrest, South Africans started to realise how far the "good doctor" went to help her lover. Dr Nandipha stole three bodies from the Mangaung State Mortuary in the Free State, according to TimesLIVE.
She lied that the bodies were those of her father, brother and husband. Interestingly, Dr Nandipha's father, Zolile Cornelius Sekeleni, is alive and well and facing murder charges alongside his daughter. Sekeleni allegedly had a hand in Bester's escape.
The suspended doctor is facing a list of charges, including defiling human remains, defeating the ends of justice and aiding and abetting a convicted criminal to escape lawful custody.
Even with the charges Dr Nandipha faces, many South Africans still cannot fathom how she actively participated in Bester's schemes and even dragged her father into the mess.
2. Dr Wouter Basson, aka Dr Death still practising despite heinous crimes
Dr Wouter Basson, infamously known as Dr Death, has been a controversial figure in South Africa because of his work during apartheid. Basson is a cardiologist who headed the apartheid government's secret chemical and biological warfare project, Project Coast.
Project Coast was a horrific initiative which involved experiments on people, plots of mass murder using poisoned beer and anthrax, assassination attempts through poisoned clothes, tampered tools and exploding letters, according to Quartz.
Basson provided the apartheid government with drugs and agents used to target anti-apartheid activists. According to the Mail & Guardian, Dr Basson's work had led to the deaths of about 200 South West African People’s Organisation (Swapo) members by the early 1980s.
Many of them were killed with muscle relaxants and dumped in the Atlantic Ocean. Under Dr Basson's supervision, Project Coast could hide in plain sight and take out people considered enemies of the state.
Project Coast went as far as trying to develop a bacteria that would only kill black people. There are also some people who believe that Project Coast had a hand in the spread of HIV/Aids in the 1990s.
Despite Dr Basson's work and crimes against humanity being well documented, the apartheid doctor is still registered to practise medicine. Basson is listed as a cardiologist at Mediclinic Durbanville and Mediclinic Panorama.
Dr Basson was due to lose his medical licence in 2013 for professional misconduct. Still, he argued that he could not be punished for taking orders from the South African Defence Force (SADF), reports BBC.
Speaking to SundayTimes in 2016, Dr Basson compared his work on Project Coast to that of a scientist finding a cure for Aids.
"I was a soldier doing a job and was helping South Africa with its defensive abilities. That is the same as developing an antibiotic or a new drug against Aids," said Dr Basson.
Dr Basson still denies any wrongdoing and claims that he worked on Project Coast in his capacity as a soldier and not a doctor.
"What I did was for the good of the country, for things like crowd control. They said doctors shouldn't get involved, but I was a soldier like any other doing my job," explained Dr Basson.
3. Dr Peter Beale was stripped of his licence for the deaths of 2 children
In 2022, Dr Peter Beale was charged with the murders of 10-year-old Zayyaan Sayed and 21-month-old Alissa Strydom. Beale was practising as a paediatric surgeon and had operated on both kids when they died.
In 2019, Zayyaan died after Beale performed surgery that was supposed to have been routine for the child's acid reflux. It was alleged that Beale lied about the biopsy results, which allowed him to perform the surgery.
Alissa also died in a similar manner. In 2016, he performed a routine surgery to treat the toddler's acid reflux and she went into cardiac arrest.
Unlike Dr Wouter Basson, Beale was scrapped from the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) registrar, meaning he is no longer allowed to practise medicine, according to TimesLIVE.
The HPSCA stated that its decision to strip Beale of his licence stemmed from previous complaints in which he was found guilty. In February 2023, the National Prosecuting Authority added charges to Beale's rap sheet.
According to EWN, in the 2000s, Beale suffered significant financial loss after the investment schemes he was involved in fell through. He recklessly and fraudulently performed surgeries to recover from his financial losses.
Beale is now facing a murder charge for the death of a 10-year-old boy he performed surgery on at Netcare Park Lane Clinic, the same hospital Alissa died at.
Beale lied to the parents of his victims and said the biopsy results indicated that they had serious diseases and needed to be treated with surgery. The former doctor was supposed to stand trial alongside anaesthetist Dr Abdulay Munshi but was gunned down in 2020.
Beale's case has been postponed until 2024 and he is currently out on bail of R10 000.
4. Doctor Avindra Dayanand accused of murder after the death of a patient
In August 2019, a 35-year-old woman died at a hospital in Richards Bay after surgery. No one was held accountable at the time of her death, but in 2022, Dr Avindra Dayanand was charged with murder for the death, according to News24.
It is believed that Monique Vandayar, a popular businesswoman in Richard's Bay, died after a routine procedure.
Dr Dayanand was accused of medical malpractice relating to her death. However, the SA Private Practitioners Forum, Surgicom and Association of Surgeons of South Africa condemned the murder charge.
Dr Nandipha replaced stolen corpses with wors and maize meal in fake burial, leaving SA with questions
The organisation called on the National Prosecuting Authority to withdraw the charges against Dr Dayanand, saying that a murder charge implied that he had the intention to kill.
The organisation added that a murder charge has profound implications and surgeons in South Africa could start fearing performing surgeries because they could face murder charges if a patient suddenly dies.
Speaking to IOL, Dr Dayanand's attorney, Yolanda Gielank, said she was shocked to learn that her client was charged with murder and not culpable homicide. She said that based on her research, the murder charge could not be justified.
Gauteng man fears death after Helen Joseph Hospital discharges him from ward with open wound for a 2nd time
Briefly News previously reported that Gauteng resident Maate Benon Daaki's life had been a living hell for four weeks with little sign of hope. On 10 January, Daaki went to Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg after experiencing stomach pain.
Thabo Bester allegedly threatened Dr Nandipha in unverified audio clip, SA questions authenticity of recording
The doctors admitted him for routine surgery because he had a bowel obstruction. However, Daaki says the doctors never explained what caused the bowel obstruction.
Speaking to Briefly News, Daaki's sister-in-law, Ncumisa Stemela, 41, stated that Daaki's surgery was postponed for two days because the hospital said they did not have blood that matched his blood type. The situation got worse from there.
Source: Briefly News