South African MP says denying visa for Dalai lama blunder and disrespectful

By Lobsang Tenchoe

DHARAMSALA, Jan 18: African National Congress has committed a blunder by barring the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama from visiting South Africa, says Stevens Mokgalapa, a politician from the country’s Democratic Alliance party.

Democratic Alliance shadow minister of international relations and cooperation Stevens Mokgalapa made the remark in a jibe aimed at African National Congress for having a pathetic foreign policy.

Mokgalapa highlighted many African National Congress’ foreign policy blunders which includes disrespect for the Tibetan People’s rights by barring the Tibetan spiritual leader from visiting South Africa.

“Government is cosying up to China and Russia, adopting a hostile approach to the West, despite the need for investment that creates jobs,” a report published by the online English newspaper, The Citizen quoted him as saying.

The Tibetan spiritual leader was refused a south African visa thrice in five years from 2009-2014 as the rainbow nation feared angering the Chinese government.

In 2014, 2011 and 2009 the Tibetan Nobel Laureate was denied visa to attend the 14th world summit of Nobel peace laureates, to attend Tutu’s 80th birthday celebrations and a Nobel laureates’ peace conference respectively.

In 2012, a South African court had ruled that officials had acted unlawfully in failing to grant His Holiness the Dalai Lama a visa in time for a 2011 trip to celebrate Tutu’s 80th birthday celebrations.