The Dalai Lama was scheduled to leave India for South Africa tomorrow but was unable to have a visa issued in time.
Although one of South Africa's most famous men, Desmond Tutu personally invited the spiritual leader to his homeland to celebrate his birthday the government failed to act in time to approve the visa.
The Dalai Lama had submitted the visa applications at the end of August and submitted original passports on September 20.
In a statement on the Dalai Lama's web page
"Since the South African government seems to find it inconvenient to issue a visa to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, His Holiness has decided to call off this visit to South Africa.
His Holiness travels the world to promote human values, religious harmony, world peace, and compassion: principles that form the core of his communications and interactions everywhere. Therefore, His Holiness does not wish to be the subject of anyone's inconvenience whether they are individuals or governments. He particularly regrets the inconvenience caused to his hosts and the many members of the South African public who were keenly waiting to receive him."
The Dalai Lama had been to public talks, deliver Bishop Tutu's 80th Birth Anniversary Inaugural Lecture and to receive the Mahatma Gandhi International Award for Peace and Reconciliation during the planned week long visit.
According to the Vancouver Sun Desmond Tutu is not happy about the development. Tutu says that the government is putting trade ties ahead of democratic values.
"The deputy president says 'no, this thing was in the pipeline'. In the pipeline? It's not weeks before he should have left, it's hours, and why have (they) kept it all so much in abeyance and making everybody uncertain? Why?" Tutu
"His explanation just leaves you even more upset instead of making things better. Because you see they could have told us or told the Dalai Lama a heck of a long time earlier 'you are getting the visa or you are not getting the visa'."
The South African government denies that China was an influence over the visa claiming that the Dalai Lama turned in the application late.