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article imageWill South Africa deny entry to Dalai Lama again? Special

By Christopher Szabo     Sep 27, 2011 in World
Pretoria - The Dalai Lama has again been invited to South Africa, this time by fellow Noble Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other South African organisations. Indications from government, however, are that he will again be refused entry.
Despite standing for freedom of speech, assembly and human rights in general in its struggle against Apartheid, the ruling African National Congress in South Africa has reacted with little enthusiasm to the invite.
Reports by the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre have been released to the media in frustration at the Department of Home Affairs and Department of International Relations and Co-operation (DIRCO) which have sent the Centre from pillar to post.
Digital Journal approached the Tibet Office in Pretoria to ask for clarity. Spokesman for the Office, Sonam Tenzing, said:
“His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been invited to attend the birthday celebrations of Archbishop Desmond Tutu and to address the inaugural Tutu Peace Lecture. So, yes, His Holiness is looking forward to attend and to receive the Gandhi International Peace and Reconciliation Award 2011 by the Gandhi Development Trust based in Durban.
The Tutu Centre’s Inaugural Lecture is titled: "Peace and compassion as catalyst for change,'' according to reports. Tenzing went on:
“While in the country, it is also planned that he will speak to the students at Stellenbosch University and interact with young people at Wits University and fulfill the desires of the Maa Afrika Tikkun NGO organization in Johannesburg.”
The centre piece of the celebration  a photo of the Dalai Lama.
The centre piece of the celebration, a photo of the Dalai Lama.
There was a great deal of to-ing and fro-ing by the South African High Commission in India, which first said the Dalai Lama’s passport application was submitted too early, then that they needed the original passport (a copy had been sent while the passport was at another embassy) and after that was duly submitted, the South African government has been very quiet on the issue. Tenzing added:
“The current situation is that HH the Dalai Lama’s original passport has been submitted on the 20th of September. It is now up to South Africa government and the High Commission in New Delhi to issue the visa so that all the hosts, who have already prepared for the visit, can receive His Holiness in the country.” His application has been submitted on the 29th of August, it has been acknowledged by the Home Affairs and since then, all the hosts have been looking forward for the South African government to issue a visa.
The issue has been a hot topic in South African media. Many, like the Daily Maverick, have been lamenting the fact that behind-the-scenes pressure by the People’s Republic of China has caused the South African government to bow to pressure and prevent the Dalai Lama’s visit as it did last year, albeit under a different president. That visit was cancelled by the government of caretaker president Kgalema Motlanthe.
The Dalai Lama has visited South Africa twice before, first in 1996 to visit Nelson Mandela.
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