Parliamentary Committee accepts clarification provided on Dalai Lama visa

OCTOBER 3, 2014

Parliament's Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation has welcomed the clarification provided on the Dalai Lama’s visa application debacle.

The Chairperson of the Committee, Siphosezwe Masango, says South Africa’s sovereignty from all persuasions is paramount.

“The perception that China dictates to South Africa on the basis of trade relations is wrong and unfounded. China is a trade partner of South Africa, as is the United States, and that should not influence who the country befriends,” Masango said.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation clarified on Friday that the visa application for the Dalai Lama was withdrawn by his office at the point when it was being considered. The Tibetan spiritual leader was scheduled to attend a summit that would have brought together more than 14 other Nobel Peace Laureates in Cape Town.

Masango said the country reserves the right to decide who it allows into its territory, as long such a person satisfied the minimum requirements of visiting.

“It would have been unjust to block the Dalai Lama into South Africa, as there would be no grounds for such an action. Trade with the Far East and any other strategic trading partner does not, and should not, mean China’s adversaries are South Africa’s,” Masango said.

“Opposition parties and civil society should refrain from bad-mouthing South African diplomacy for political expediency, rather they should market the country as the best possible destination and a champion in resolving matters threatening world stability,” he said.

Photo caption: Parliament's Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation has welcomed the clarification provided on the Dalai Lama’s visa application debacle. Image: Asia News.