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IFP: Court couldn’t fix past on Dalai Lama

February 7, 2012

The Western Cape High Court dismissed an application on the Dalai Lama's visa as it was too late to fix the past, the IFP said on Friday.

“Today, the Cape High Court handed down a judgment which dismissed this application on the ground of it being moot,” IFP MP Mario Oriani-Ambrosini said.

Earlier, Judge Elizabeth Baartman dismissed with costs the application on whether it was constitutional for the government not to have granted a visa to the Dalai Lama last year

The application was brought by the IFP and Cope.

“Simply put, the court held that it could do nothing to fix what was done in the past if that was wrongful and that nothing had yet been done in respect of the future which could enable the court to fix it before it happened,” Oriani-Ambrosini said.

The Dalai Lama cancelled his intended trip to South Africa to attend Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu's 80th birthday on October 4, saying he had done so to avoid inconveniencing the South African government.

The government's failure to grant the visa sparked a public outcry with Tutu accusing President Jacob Zuma's administration of being “worse than the apartheid government”.

The IFP and Cope subsequently filed an application in the High Court for an order declaring Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana

Dlamini-Zuma's handling of the matter unlawful and forcing her to treat future applications by the Dalai Lama fairly.

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi has invited the Dalai Lama to visit him in 2012.

Oriani-Ambrosini said the government's refusal to grant the visa was a national tragedy and had made the South African government an international disgrace.

“The legal routes have thus far proven unsuccessful. This is a grave indictment on our entire system of government which has not yet been able to find a mechanism to correct what everyone perceives as an injustice, ranging from the churches to the trade unions to the common people who, in their overwhelming majority, declared themselves in favour of the Dalai Lama coming to South Africa.”

Oriani-Ambrosini said they might consider appealing the judgment. – Sapa

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