‘No Dalai Lama visa’

2011-08-29 13:28

No application for a visa to visit South Africa has been received from Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, the home affairs department said today.

The department said it had noted media reports of an “alleged submission of an application” by the Dalai Lama for a visa to visit South Africa, to attend the birthday celebrations of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

“In this regard, the department’s immigration section has been in contact with our diplomatic mission in New Delhi, India, on Saturday, as well as today, to verify if such an application by the Dalai Lama for a visa has been received.

“The diplomatic mission has advised us on both occasions that no such application for a visa by the Dalai Lama has at this stage been received.”

Upon receipt of such an application, the matter would be given the necessary attention from Pretoria.
Earlier, it was reported that South Africa was considering whether to grant the Dalai Lama a visa, after Tutu invited him for a visit.

Both Tutu and the Dalai Lama were Nobel peace prize laureates.

“I have invited His Holiness the Dalai Lama to attend my 80th birthday celebrations in Cape Town,” Tutu said over the weekend, confirming that he “has accepted the invitation”.

In 2009, South Africa declined the Dalai Lama’s request to attend a peace conference connected to the 2010 Fifa World Cup, apparently fearing it would upset its major trading partner China.

The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in India since 1959. He fled there after a failed uprising against the Chinese occupation of Tibet.

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