Court questions Dalai Lama visa timeframe

2012-11-12 16:07

Bloemfontein - The Supreme Court of Appeal on Monday found it difficult to accept that a visa application for an international figure could take several months to be processed.

“How many months can people expect to wait,” Appeal Court Judge Robert Nugent asked the department of home affairs’ lawyer Marumo Moerane SC during an argument on “unreasonable delay”.

The Supreme Court of Appeal was hearing an appeal application by the IFP and Cope on whether it was unconstitutional and unlawful for home affairs to turn down a visa for the Dalai Lama last year.

“The only reasonable conclusion could be that they did not want to do anything,” said Judge Malcolm Wallis, asking if it was considered against the background of international importance and the sensitivity of the case.

“No, with respect, that could not be it,” answered Moerane.

He submitted the department did not deliberately obstruct the visa application.

Earlier, the Western Cape High Court dismissed with costs the application on whether it was constitutional for the government not to grant a visa to the Dalai Lama.

The Tibetan spiritual leader cancelled a trip to South Africa to attend Tutu's 80th birthday on 4 October.

Tutu was outraged and said the current government was worse than the apartheid-era one.

Unreasonable conduct

At the time, the High Court found the issue was moot because the Dalai Lama, after getting no response to his visa application, cancelled his trip.

Moerane submitted that if the Dalai Lama had not withdrawn his application it might have been approved. The withdrawal made it impossible for the department to make a decision.

Moerane also found it difficult to explain why the then minister of home affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, made no time reference in her answers to court when she was challenged on a time aspect.

“She was challenged in the realm of international politics and she said nothing of time…why it took so long,” the bench said.

Moerane said the minister was waiting on other departments, such as foreign affairs, to answer the visa application.

The SCA agreed, but urged Moerane to show facts that supported the minister’s statement under oath.

Moerane replied there was no reason to doubt the minister’s version.

Earlier legal counsel for the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), Anton Katz submitted the case could not be moot, because it would give the government a licence to act unlawfully in future.

He said it was in the interests of justice that the case still be considered.

“The court must say something on how the department has done its work.”

Katz submitted that the department’s argument that no real decision had been made did not hold in this case.

He submitted the "refusal" to grant the visa was unlawful and wanted the court to make a declaration on the "failure of process".

Counsel for Cope, Max du Plessis, also submitted to court that the visa application process did not meet the test supported by the Constitution.

He said the government's conduct in the case was unreasonable.

The case continues.

  • shirley.steenkamp - 2012-11-12 16:16

    We all know that it was "hidden" under heaps of applications,so that a "valid" reason could be given when they were questioned. This is just on of the many ways that the government bends the laws to fit their agenda!

      art5SA - 2012-11-13 08:25

      Now tell me South Africa is not a PROVINCE OF CHINA!!!!!!!! Zuma and his cronies REPORT to CHINA every three months.... The "BOSS" told the SA Govt NOT TO HAND THE DALAI LAMA a visa.... What a JOKE South Africa has become!! So BLATANT TOO!!!

  • Erna - 2012-11-12 16:22

    The wheels of justice grind very slowly in SA.

  • tw2066 - 2012-11-12 16:39

    China, stealing jobs, stealing raw materials,supporting JZ. Why would the ANC want anything do with something that would upset their New Colonial Masters?

  • julie.j.vanrensburg - 2012-11-12 17:20

    The REAL reason is that our Chinese masters would have been VERY upset had the Dalai Lama been allowd into the country. It is a fact that China is now virtually controlling the government, and government does not want to get into China's bad books for fear of losing support from that country...

  • bibi.vanzyl - 2012-11-12 17:20

    Of course we all know what the real reason was. Every other tom, dick(especially), harry, war criminals and mafia gangs can openly enter SA. Maybe the DL should have offered them a bribe.

      terrylee.heuer - 2012-11-13 07:21

      Eg the exiled General of Rwanda!! Got his visa the same day he arrived in SA??!!!

      p.borchard - 2012-11-13 08:27

      VIP housing for our "important" genocide perpetrators are being built at Nkandla and Pretoria. Obviously they are so much more welcome in the eyes of the ANC than people like the Dalai Lama......

      art5SA - 2012-11-13 08:27

      Not to forget those RUSSIAN MAFIA fellows.... they get visas on FALSE PASSPORTS... ROFLMAO!!!!

  • chris.braum - 2012-11-12 17:39

    Used to be that SA had the courage to hold the moral high ground. The first years of freedom were wonderful and exciting; we were proud to be South African. Now we are back to pre-1994. So Sad!

      mc.segal.5 - 2012-11-12 18:36

      Quite a bit farther back than 1994 sadly....

  • matusowsky - 2012-11-12 19:57


  • quarty.vanzyl - 2012-11-13 07:51

    the masters of our government in China, instructed us to not allow their naughty child in SA

  • pahath.moab - 2012-11-13 09:03

    It’s simple people! I know it is going to be difficult but try at least not to support Chinese business. I have all types of friends from different races and yet never ever seem to make contact with Chinese people. They simply don’t let you into their lives. Because why! Most of them have illegal businesses. If it’s not fake imports its drugs, abalone or ryno horns smuggling that is the order of the day. We have a double story fortress of a house on the corner of our road with twenty occupants living there. They come and go through the night with rental trucks! Reported it to the cops and they have done nothing!

  • pages:
  • 1