Pretoria - International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Marius Fransman has concluded his working visit to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The deputy minister held bilateral consultations with the UAE Under-Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Abdulla Al Hamed, concerning the case of Professor Cyril Karabus.
Karabus, an emeritus professor at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and specialist paediatric oncologist, has been in detention in Abu Dhabi since 19 August 2012, in connection with a case dating back to 2002/2003.
The case pertains to the death of a three-year old Yemeni patient. Karabus is currently out on bail.
“The unavailability of the medical record of the Higher Medical Committee has resulted in the postponement of Professor Karabus's court hearing for the thirteenth time. The next court date is on Wednesday, 20 March 2013,” said the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO).
During the consultations, Fransman raised South Africa's concern regarding the delays in finalising of Karabus’s case, the health of the professor, and the potential of the case to cause damage to the existing good relations between South Africa and the UAE.
South Africa called on the UAE to allow Professor Karabus to be released on humanitarian grounds due to his age and health.
“The South African government respects the independence of the judiciary and called for a fair trial with a view to avoiding further postponements of the case.
“Notwithstanding this concern, Fransman emphasised that South Africa and the UAE enjoyed good bilateral relations,” said DIRCO.
The UAE is the largest market for South African products in the Arab world. It is also a major investor in South Africa and home to a sizeable South African expatriate community.
Fransman said South Africa looked forward to welcoming the President of the UAE in South Africa after he accepted an invitation from President Jacob Zuma to undertake a visit.
It is also expected that the inaugural meeting of the South Africa - UAE Joint Commission will take place this year.
Fransman also consulted with Karabus about the case and enquired about his health and personal circumstances.
“Karabus expressed hope that the Higher Medical Committee would have reviewed his case by that time,” said DIRCO. – SAnews.gov.za