Court to hear Dalai Lama application

2011-12-05 16:15
Cape Town - The Western Cape High Court will hear an application by the Inkatha Freedom Party and the Congress of the People on Tuesday on whether it is constitutional for government to bar the Dalai Lama entry into South Africa.

"Tomorrow, December 6th at 10:00, the Cape High Court will be hearing the application of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi (IFP leader) and Mr Mosiuoa Lekota (Cope leader) aimed at declaring the unconstitutionality of the action taken by our government to bar the entry of the Dalai Lama into South Africa," the IFP said on Monday.

The hearing will be presided over by Judge Dennis Davis.

Demonstrations in support of the Dalai Lama have been organised in Greenmarket Square and other venues.

The Dalai Lama cancelled his intended trip to South Africa to attend Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu's 80th birthday on October 7.

He said he had done so to avoid inconveniencing the South African government.

Fear of backlash from China

Tutu then accused President Jacob Zuma's administration of being "worse than the apartheid government" for not granting the visa.

The IFP and Cope subsequently filed an application in the Western Cape High Court for an order declaring Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's handling of the matter unlawful and forcing her to treat future applications by the Dalai Lama fairly.

Home affairs director general Mkuseli Apleni said in an answering affidavit to the application that Pretoria's One China policy, South Africa's Brics membership, and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe's recent visit to China were all taken into account when deciding whether to grant the visa.

Government was also mindful of the fallout other nations experienced after they hosted the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, who is blacklisted by China as a separatist.

South Africa feared a backlash from China similar to those experienced by France and Australia when they allowed the Dalai Lama to visit.

He said the Dalai Lama was granted a visa in 1996 because the government had only adopted the One China policy in 1998.

Read more on:    cope  |  ifp  |  dalai lama  |  cape town
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