Judgement on Dalai Lama matter reserved


Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama

Pretoria – The Home Affairs Ministry has noted the decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal, on Monday, to reserve judgement on the appeal brought by the IFP and COPE on the matter of the Dalai Lama.

“Government opposed the application brought by both parties against the decision of the Western Cape High Court, which had ruled earlier that the points raised by the counsel of the parties were moot following a withdrawal of the application for a visa by the Dalai Lama,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry will await the decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal on the matter, but remains confident of the case it has made against arguments brought by counsel for the COPE and IFP in court on Monday.

The Tibetan spiritual leader was due to attend Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s 80th birthday celebrations in October 2011.

The South African government at the time said it had not refused to grant the Dalai Lama a visa.

According to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), the Dalai Lama cancelled his trip to the country while his application was still under consideration.

The South African High Commission in New Delhi in August 2011 said the Dalai Lama’s office informed the High Commission that they wanted to submit his visa application without the original passport, DIRCO said.

“For a visa application to be considered, it must be accompanied by the original passport of the applicant. The office of the Dalai Lama was informed of this. The original passport was only submitted on 20 September 2011,” DIRCO said.

In light of international criticism that South Africa’s actions around the visa application were influenced by its close relations with China, DIRCO was emphatic that the country’s foreign policy was independent and decisions were made based on its domestic interests.

“A visa application in any country is subjected to the normal due process and the outcome is communicated to the applicant. The same principle applies in this case,” said the department. –