International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Marius Fransman paid a visit to the family of Cape Town paediatrican Dr Cyril Karabus in Cape Town on Thursday to brief them on the government's efforts to assist the professor.
Karabus, a specialist paediatric oncologist who is an emeritus professor at the University of Cape Town, has been in detention in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since 19 August 2012 in connection with a case dating back to 2002-03.
"The Department of International Relations and Cooperation [Dirco] has rendered extensive consular assistance to Professor Karabus and his family since August 2012," the department said in a statement on Thursday.
"International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane has written a letter to her UAE counterpart requesting that the UAE authorities deal with the case in an expeditious and fair manner, as it is placing strain on the existing good relations between South Africa and the UAE in the field of medical cooperation.
"Furthermore, the UAE Ambassador to South Africa has been summoned by the department to express South Africa's concerns on the issue. The South African government has also called on the government of the UAE to expedite the matter and to bring it to finalisation as quickly as possible."
Fransman assured the Karabus family that the South African government was taking all the necessary steps, at a high level, to ensure that Karabus received a fair and just trial.
He added the South African Embassy in Abu Dhabi continued to give consular services to Karabus to the best of their ability.
While it is not possible for South Africa to influence or interfere with the judicial process in another sovereign country, Fransman, said the government would remain seized with the matter until it was concluded.
He also encouraged the Karabus family to feel free to contact the department at any time for support and assistance.
"Professor Karabu's wife, Jenifer, and the family thanked the department for the support rendered to her husband and wished for a speedy resolution to the case and for Professor Karabus's return to South Africa to be with his family," the department said.
According to The Times newspaper, Karabus' was arrested at Dubai International Airport while en route to South Africa from Canada in connection with an operation he performed in Abu Dhabi in 2002.
His patient, a child suffering from leukaemia, later died, and Karabus - in his absence and without his knowledge - was tried and convicted of fraud and manslaughter in 2003.
He is currently out on bail of R250 000 bail, according to The Times, and is unable to leave the UAE.
- SANews.gov.za, with additional reporting by SAinfo reporter