Chinese pressure pays off as Dalai Lama cancels SA trip

By Khadija Patel 4 October 2011

South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco) is due to communicate its decision on the Dalai Lama's visa request later on Tuesday. But in the meanwhile, the Dalai Lama has already cancelled his trip to South Africa. Looks like the time it's taken to process his visa has achieved the desired effect. By KHADIJA PATEL.

The uncertainty surrounding the outcome of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visa application has caused the Tibetan spiritual leader to cancel his trip to South Africa. Until Tuesday morning it was unclear whether the visa would be granted; now the issue has become an academic one.

Dirco is expected to communicate the outcome of the visa application to representatives of the Dalai Lama later on Tuesday. By the time the decision is communicated, it will however be in vain.

The Tibetan leader was due to leave India for South Africa on Wednesday, but his representatives were not able to confirm his travel arrangements owing to the cloud of uncertainty surrounding his South African visa application.

Visa applications at the South African High Commission in Delhi take anything from one week to two months to be processed. Consulate officials at the High Commission received the complete visa application two weeks ago. It is the time it has taken to process the visa application that has compelled the Dalai Lama to cancel his trip to South Africa.

While it is widely suspected that China has pressured South Africa not to approve the visa request, Dirco continue to insist that South Africa has not been under any pressure to refuse the Dalai Lama entry into our country. Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela has been adamant that due processes must be followed and until Tuesday morning insisted that the applicant himself be informed of the outcome before the media.

The outcome of the visa debacle may not unequivocally prove Chinese hegemony in its relationship with South Africa, but the delay in processing the visa will prove yet another public-relations disaster for the South African government. DM

Read more:

  • Dalai Lama’s Visit: SA’s real intergrity test, in Daily Maverick

Photo: Reuters


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