South Africa’s  Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Luwellyn Landers, has voiced the concerns of government over the death sentence handed down to William John Endley.

He raised the matter during a meeting with South Sudan‘s First Vice President, General Taban Deng Gai, in Geneva on the sidelines of the UN Human Rights Council meeting.

Endley, a former colonel in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), was sentenced to death by hanging when he appeared before a court in the South Sudan capital Juba last Friday.

He had been earlier convicted of treason and trying to “overthrow the South Sudan government” in a trial that his family and lawyer say was unfair and failed to follow due process. 

During Wednesday’s meeting between Landers and Gai, the latter underscored the need to allow the legal process to unfold, given that Endley still has an opportunity to appeal his conviction and sentence.

The Endley family told the African News Agency (ANA) during an interview that their lawyer had been given 15 days to prepare the appeal.

The vice president of South Sudan also presented a letter from President Salva Kiir to Landers, to be handed over to President Cyril Ramaphosa .

In the letter, Kiir congratulated Ramaphosa on assuming the presidency of South Africa while undertaking to work with him to consolidate and strengthen existing ties between South Sudan and South Africa.