ANC China trip 'not related to Dalai Lama visa'
Cape Town - The ANC has confirmed that its secretary general Gwede Mantashe is leading a ruling party delegation to China to strengthen ties with the Chinese Communist Party.
"The purpose of the trip is to strengthen party-to-party relations," ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza said on Monday.
"The ANC has relationships with all progressive parties around the world. We share experiences and views and perspectives on issues of international governance."
Khoza said the government was particularly interested in learning from the political parties ruling fellow members of the Brics [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] bloc of emerging market economies. South Africa joined the group in December last year.
Khoza confirmed that there had been several ANC visits to China to allow officials to interact with their Chinese counterparts before the present visit.
The 10-strong delegation that left for China earlier this month included Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Enoch Godongwana in his capacity as a member of the party's national executive committee.
Khoza denied that the visit played any role in the government's handling of the Dalai Lama's visa application. The Tibetan spiritual leader had wanted to travel to South Africa for Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu's 80th birthday.
"No, no, the trip was planned a long time before that," he said.