SA drags feet in democracy fight: Suu Kyi

2011-10-03 19:03

Johannesburg - Myanmar's democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi on Monday criticised South Africa for stalling on awarding a visa to the Dalai Lama and for lacking "enthusiasm" in fighting for democracy elsewhere.

"Sometimes we get the feeling perhaps that South Africa, or rather I must be frank and say perhaps South African authorities, do not support the struggle for democracy and human rights as enthusiastically as, for example, individuals like Archbishop Desmond Tutu," Suu Kyi said in a video link interview at the University of Johannesburg.

South Africa has dithered on deciding whether to allow the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader to visit the country for anti-apartheid luminary Tutu's 80th birthday this week.

The Dalai Lama has paid three visits to South Africa, but in 2009 he was denied a visa, with the government saying it did not want to alienate its biggest trade partner China.

Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) looked on South Africans "as soulmates, our brothers and sisters who went through the same kind of struggles that we are going through now".

"But it would be so good if those who have successfully overcome their problems were to remember those who are still struggling to overcome theirs," she added.

Honorary doctorate

The university will award Suu Kyi an honorary doctorate in absentia on Tuesday for her pro-democracy fight.

Her NLD party won a 1990 election, but was never allowed to take power by the then-ruling military junta.

She was released from seven straight years of house arrest last November, shortly after a widely criticised election won by a general who traded his uniform for civilian garb.

Former South African president Nelson Mandela was a staunch supporter of Suu Kyi, but his country's support for her movement has cooled since.

In 2007 South Africa, while a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, voted against a US-led resolution urging democratic reform in Myanmar, saying the measure went beyond the council's mandate.

  • slg - 2011-10-03 19:09

    Could not agree more. Well said. Isn't the Information Age awesome?

      Coconut - 2011-10-03 19:53

      The ANC regime has lost it's moral compass. Plain and simple.

      GetitRight - 2011-10-03 20:08

      "But it would be so good if those who have successfully overcome their problems were to remember those who are still struggling to overcome theirs," LIBYA and now this. Eiisshhh!

      letsee - 2011-10-03 20:12

      Quite right madam, The ANC is not democracy friendly. They know they are incapable and the only way to hold to power and enrich is to assassinate democracy. The otger way to prosper, which is through competence is out of their reach.

      cliffarc - 2011-10-03 21:22

      - It was individuals like the Dalai Lama that fought for the Anc's liberation and majority democracy, all those years ago. It is a sad indictment and reflection of their loss of morality and integrity , that the Anc now see fit to turn their backs on such people. And all because of a misguided belief that the Chinese are usefull bed partners.

      Jon JJ - 2011-10-04 07:03

      @Cocnut - the ANC never had a moral compass. Apartheid was a ways to a means for them to get what they didn't deserve. It was a guilt trip to exploit to get the West to feel sorry for them and get behind their "struggle". These people don't understand democracy and are useless incompetant dictators holding onto power.

      letsee - 2011-10-04 08:04

      South Africa drags its feet in everything. The fact is that the ANC has no startegy and can't implement anything.

      Hugh - 2011-10-04 09:16

      The ANC's Moral compass never existed. They did what they had to do at the time to intimate that they were better than the existing reigime. Those at the time who said that time will tell if the decision to install the ANC was wrong. That it was a staged act by the ANC. That a leoperd cannot change its spots seem to be proved right.

  • Al Chemist - 2011-10-03 19:10

    SA government are lacking in pretty much everything. Maybe try bribing someone? That seems to generally work

      Druce - 2011-10-03 22:07

      depocracy, democary - there is no such word in Africa or any african language called this democracy, but the word fight on the other hand... - bana republic, Bogom Bogom

  • GetitRight - 2011-10-03 19:10


  • Bart Zimzon - 2011-10-03 19:13

    Democracy? uuuh? here? where?

  • Forseti - 2011-10-03 19:14

    Wow it makes SA look really bad, we seem to oppose any other nation acquiring democratic reform based on one excuse or the other. Is the ANC truly a supporter of democracy and a supporter of other oppressed nations

  • Karoobloed - 2011-10-03 19:14

    It is a tough one. The Dalai Lama is one of the brightest beacons of struggle for freedom on the planet. On the other hand one should be careful not unnecessarily antagonize China, a country with massive and growing influence in the world. Having said that, our ANC government has shamefully failed in promoting freedom and real democracy in the rest of Africa. The ANCs open support for the tyrants and ex-tyrants in Zimbabwe, Lybia and the Ivory Coast has been morally absolutely repugnant. That has been one of the main reason why I cannot bring myself to support the ANC. The other being lack of security provided to all citizens in RSA, Black and White.

      Warslat - 2011-10-03 19:24

      @ Karoobloed. The DL may be a symbol of struggle but he's one of the most misunderstood people on the planet. He's a nasty individual who thankfully has no influence over anyone except the people who wish to donate to his family business...err I mean government in exile. Look at how the lamas used to treat people when the did have authority. I wouldn't like to live under China but if I had to choose between them and the DL, I'd take China in a heartbeat

      coolicebox - 2011-10-03 19:27

      "The Dalai Lama is one of the brightest beacons of struggle for freedom on the planet"?? Really, google the history of Tibet dude!! An emperor who lost power suddenly became the victim, so ironic..

      Warslat - 2011-10-03 19:40

      @ Coolicebox. You're absolutely right but very few will see it that way. Prepare for a barrage of downvotes from people whose research extends as far as Brad Pitt's "4 Years in Tibet" movie or some other Hollywood propoganga rubbish. Glad to see not everyone is fooled by his ummm "Holiness".

      aj - 2011-10-03 20:24

      @karoobloed: Right-On. Do not judge the negative comments. They are not aware of the PAID ones who makes false claims (official reports) about amongst other the DL and who is behind it all. Neither are they aware of the false pretences and under-the-table-payments to scrupulous false politicians, all after the bread-bin of the world - Africa, to which so many idiotic African politicians take a fall ... bla... bla... bla... Not to worry - they WILL all fall very soon & be exposed.... Attackers - Do not attack the comment - rather wait a while & see before you once again embarrass yourselves ... In your stupidity you wil probably not beleive that in any case .... Ego-Drift ....

      Warslat - 2011-10-04 00:30

      @ aj. You presume anti DL sources are current and not credible, you're wrong. You say "They are not aware of the PAID ones who makes false claims (official reports)"...OK let's see who's really getting PAID I'd hate to embaress myself with silly things like facts so here goes. Exile gov a family business Dalai lamas older brother served as chairman of Kashag cabinet, minister of security and headed Tibetan contra movement. Sister in law was head of the gov in exiles planning council and Dept of Health Younger sister was Health & Education minister Brother in law was Head of gov in exiles Dept of Information and internal relations Niece was a Tibetan member of parliament in exile Younger brother was senior member of private office Another sister in law was also education minister Second wife of a brother in law is or was the representative of the Tibetan gov in exile for northern europe and head of internation relations for the gov in exile. Now instead of being vague, give me specifics as to why I'm wrong. If this were Zumas family you'd be screaming nepotism but because it's far away and involves people and places you know nothing about you tale Hollywoods view as balanced. It's also funny seeing pro-democracy countries and youths so intent in installing a Tibetan government so anti-democratic that it's a joke. Find out more about how the lamas lived and treated, taxed and tortured the locals before commenting again.

      Warslat - 2011-10-04 02:26

      @ aj I don't normally pick out anyone's grammar but yours is so bad as to sabotage your own argument 1 "scrupulous false politicians" - don't you actually mean "unscrupulous". Scrupulous implies they have integrity. 2 "after the bread-bin of the world - Africa" - The term is "bread basket" and since when has Africa been capable of feeding itself let alone the world or actually been doing so. Zimbabwe was once considered the breadbasket of Africa, we all know how that turned out. Some people wrongfully refer to America as the breadbasket of the world despite China producing more. 3 "Do not attack the comment - rather wait a while & see before you once again embarrass yourselves ... In your stupidity you wil probably not beleive that in any case" - You actually refer to us who make points and had negative comments about the DL as stuipid. Well I refer to point 1 & 2 ask why should anyone believe somebody who's so "clever" they can't even construct a meaningful sentence? If you had even a modicum of intelligence you'd be the one embarressed...but I doubt that's the case.

      Felix - 2011-10-04 08:16

      Warslat, you should give this info to our government. They would invite him in a heartbeat to get some tips on Nepotism.

      Warslat - 2011-10-04 09:37

      @ Felix, you're so right.

  • Warslat - 2011-10-03 19:19

    "in 2009 he was denied a visa, with the government saying it did not want to alienate its biggest trade partner China." Not true, the government said he'd detract focus from the soccer world cup, they didn't have the balls to tell the truth even though everyone knew that China was the real reason. Not that I consider the Dalai Lama a decent person or support his (or even China's) cause.

      Ryan - 2011-10-04 06:50

      maybe you are right about the negative things about the DL, however that should still not preclude him from getting a visa.

      Warslat - 2011-10-04 09:33

      I absolutely agree 100%. My argument wasn't about him getting a visa but rather the SA governments reasoning behind denying him one. They can't even tell the truth when they're sucking up to China. They don't seem to understand China will bleed them dry regardless of whether they allow the DL in or not.

  • Cire - 2011-10-03 19:24

    Give that woman a Bells! Make it a double!

  • GJB - 2011-10-03 19:29

    "....with the government saying it did not want to alienate its biggest trade partner China." Yeah right, call a spade a spade. Trade negotiations with some political moves with it? Sounds logical, but so does the comment from the estimed Suu Kyi. Seems our government was more interested in the money

  • Davearch - 2011-10-03 19:56

    How embarrassing !! Hold your heads high, Comrades .. see how the rest of the world views you .. all in 17 years ...

  • Bill - 2011-10-03 19:59

    I have been amazed at the ANC government's disregard for democracy and the freedom of the people of other countries. Having fought for our freedoms in this country and having won a wonderful victory over oppression and racism, we back away from supporting those who seek the same freedoms in other countries. We support the Mugabis, Gaddafis, the Chinese government, the Burmese government, but not the people.

      Rightway - 2011-10-03 22:25

      The whites who voted YES for democratic elections freed the country from apartheid. The ANC are and were worse than the NP. Read up on their history in excile. Apart from corruption and incompetence what have they achieved for SA that any other party could not have done better.

  • Davearch - 2011-10-03 20:00

    Has someone told her how wealthy you all are all of a sudden ... whilst your subjects starve in abject misery ... would love to hear more from her ...

      aj - 2011-10-03 20:32

      Homework bru ...

  • Ian - 2011-10-03 21:33

    San Suu Kyi you have my respect, but Tutu did call for a seperate tax to be imposed on the white minority very recently. Dont you see the racism in that or dosent that apply to your agenda

  • Karoogypsy - 2011-10-03 21:49

    Takes guts to say this to the mighty SA........lets immigrate to Myanmar!!!

  • Rightway - 2011-10-03 22:14

    Those who thought that the ANC had the political moral ground during apartheid have received a shocking wake up call over the past years. The ANC were never better than the National Party. They just climbed on the band wagon of white guilt for colonialism and slavery. They are in it for themselves. They will support any tyrant they want to. They owe China big time. Now the rest of the world can see what morally bankrupt scum we have as majority government in SA. Before 94 i was embarrassed to be a South African when i go overseas and am even more so today thanks to the ANC.

  • sphamandla - 2011-10-03 23:43

    i am dissapointed by the governments decision;but i also understand that china is our most important partner for economic development

      Pekkie - 2011-10-04 07:58

      What are you serious??? do you know how many South Africans lost their jobs due to cheap Chinese imports?,The textile industry was hurt badly and only Government gets to load the money into their own pockets! Oh the intelligence is scary!

  • Sisie - 2011-10-04 07:58

    Has anyone noticed that denying the Dalai Lama a visa since 2009, happened on Zuma's watch. In a nutshell that shows where Zuma and his boys allegiance really lie. Not with democracy and SA but with their own pockets. This is a disgrace to democracy and human rights. They have gone out of their way to rub shoulders with the BRIC and slowly but surely they will change a little law here & there and before you know it we will be living in a country that China will be dictating our policies. Oh wait that is already happening. So much for Democracy. But that is what happens when the government don't have any morals and ethics.

  • Darwinian - 2011-10-04 08:57

    The liberators supports the oppressors...

  • akaRags - 2012-02-06 23:05

    While I am no supporter of the Chinese industry, that has badly damaged our textile industry and other local industries, you have to admit, the Chinese are willing to make the sacrifices, for the betterment of their own country, even in a country like SA with it's track record of xenphobia. Maybe if our own people were willing to build up South Africa & do the hard slog, like the Chinese are doing for their mother country, and beat the Chinese at their own game, instead of this get rich quick attitude from far too many South Africans, South Africa would not need to rely on China nearly so much, as a trading partner in the first place. In Zimbabwe, for example, Zanu Pf may have chased most of the white farmers off the land, & chased many of their valuable professianls (of all races) abroad, but at what cost - what "freedom" (from the whites as ZanuPF would claim) have they really gained? They have replaced the whites for another set of "colonialists" & they are kidding themselves if they think it's "investment" as the Chinese are doing it ultimately for China, not for the good of the countries they are in. Those in power in many African countries talk the big talk about democracy for the people, but all too often it means little.

  • mwsprawson - 2012-02-07 12:06

    A country as large as SA should not allow itself to become a one party state. South Africans should really make an effort to keep various suitable parties rotating through office. Any party that can rest on it's laurels will become a bad party eventually. That can be bet on.

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