/ 4 September 2014

SA government confirms Dalai Lama’s visa application

The Dalai Lama has twice since 2009 been denied a visa for South Africa.
The Dalai Lama has twice since 2009 been denied a visa for South Africa.

The international relations department on Thursday confirmed that Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama made a visa application in India for entry to South Africa.

He was due to attend the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Cape Town next month.

“The application will be taken through normal due process. The relevant authorities will communicate with the applicant thereafter,” department spokesperson Clayson Monyela said in a statement.

Monyela confirmed that the South African High Commission in New Delhi “has received a visa application from the office of … the Dalai Lama for a planned visit … to South Africa”, but provided no further details.

Visa denied
The Cape Times however reported earlier on Thursday that the Dalai Lama was refused entry to South Africa.

The Dalai Lama’s representative in South Africa, Nangsa Choedon, said officials from the department of international relations had phoned her office in the past week to say the Tibetan spiritual leader would not be granted a visa. 

The office had yet to receive written confirmation. “For now the Dalai Lama has decided to cancel his trip to South Africa,” Choedon was quoted as saying. 

The summit, an annual gathering, is being arranged by a local organising committee formed by the foundations representing four South African laureates; Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, FW de Klerk, and Albert Luthuli.

Nobel laureates ‘won’t attend’
The Cape Times also reported that other Nobel Peace laureates told Tutu they would not come if the Dalai Lama was not permitted to enter the country. This is the third time in five years that the Dalai Lama could not secure a visa to enter South Africa.

The department could not confirm nor deny whether the visa had been refused. Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille, who would be hosting the event, had instructed city officials to write to the government to establish whether he had been denied a visa. 

“We have not heard from them yet, but I will not give up hope that our government will not humiliate the Dalai Lama again,” De Lille was quoted as saying. – Sapa