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Sat Sep 20 01:57:02 SAST 2014

Supreme Court of Appeal to hear Dalai Lama visa denial case

Sapa | 09 November, 2012 15:14
The Dalai Lama at a multi-faith service at Westminster Abbey, London. File photo.
Image by: DOMINIC LIPINSKI/GALLO IMAGES

The Supreme Court of Appeal will hear an application by the IFP and Cope relating to whether it was unconstitutional and unlawful for home affairs to turn down a visa for the Dalai Lama, the IFP said on Friday.

"Because of its absurdity, the Dalai Lama case brings to the fore the extent to which our ruling class is beheld to the Chinese government," IFP justice spokesman Mario Oriani-Ambrosini said in a statement.

"Government's lawyers had argued in their papers that the refusal to grant a visa is justified by our government's intention not to displease the Chinese government," he said.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is both the head of state and the spiritual leader of Tibet. He has won many awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize, for promoting the cause of Tibet and is welcome everywhere except in South Africa and China. China invaded Tibet in 1950 and has occupied it since. The Dalai Lama is a long-time friend of former president Nelson Mandela, Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Buthelezi and former president FW De Klerk, who was the last president of the country in the apartheid-era.

"What government lawyers have pleaded in their papers before the court may represent the views of the ruling elite, but surely not the view of the South African people, and this questions the extent to which in this instance the South African government is a representative of the South African people, or of its Chinese friends and allies," said Oriani-Ambrosini.

The case is expected to begin in Bloemfontein at 9.30am on Monday.

It was last heard in the Western Cape High Court, which dismissed with costs an application on whether it was constitutional for the government not to grant a visa to the Dalai Lama last year.

The Dalai Lama cancelled a trip to South Africa to attend Tutu's 80th birthday on October 4. Tutu was outraged and said the government was worse than that during apartheid.

At the time, the court found that the issue was moot because the Dalai Lama cancelled his application and the party had already been held.

Buthelezi has invited the Dalai Lama to visit the country this year.

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Sat Sep 20 01:57:02 SAST 2014 ::