Southern Africa: South Africa court action over Dalai Lama visa dispute- October 19, 2011

South Africa’s opposition has called for a judicial review of the government’s failure to give the Dalai Lama a visa earlier this month.
He was forced to cancel plans to attend Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s 80th birthday celebrations after his application was not considered in time.

The government denied it had bowed to pressure from China to block the trip.
The opposition has filed papers in the High Court to demand a review of the decision.
The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the Congress of the People (Cope) said Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma acted unlawfully by referring the visa application to the Department of International Relations and Co-operation.

The IFP said its leader, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, had since invited the Dalai Lama – the exiled spiritual leader of the Tibetan people – to visit South Africa during Human Rights Day celebrations in March.
China sees the India-based Nobel Peace laureate, who campaigns for the rights of the Tibetan people, as a dangerous separatist leader.

It has pushed for his international isolation, appealing to governments to refuse to meet him.