Reports: Dalai Lama denied visa to SA again

Tenzin Gyatso's office has reportedly said the SA govt has again denied him a visa.

FILE: Tenzin Gyatso's office has reportedly said the SA govt has again denied him a visa. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - Another row is brewing over the Dalai Lama apparently not being granted a visa to visit South Africa for a major international event.

The Tibetan spiritual leader, who's real name is Tenzin Gyatso, was meant to have attended the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Cape Town next month.

But, the _Cape Times _ reported that he's apparently been denied a visa yet again by South Africa.

The visa request was filed from his office in India.

Speaking to Cape Talk's John Maytham, Nangsa Choedon, a representative for Gyatso said "They have got back to us to say they have got his request but the government is not in a position to grant him a visa."

No mention is made on the spiritual leader's website of him planning to come here.

This row comes quite coincidentally as Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, arrives in China for a meeting of what's called the South Africa-China Inter-Ministerial Joint Working Group on Cooperation.

South Africa's close relations with Beijing have been cited as reasons for the spiritual leader not being allowed in the country.

Meanwhile, the FW de Klerk Foundation told Eyewitness News it's still awaiting more information from government on whether it's yet again denied the Dalai Lama a visa to visit the country.

The foundation helped arrange the gathering to be held in the Mother City for the first time.

The foundation's Dave Steward says they are concerned and perplexed and they want answers.

"We can't find any reason at all why a visa should be refused to him. So as we have heard it is still being considered."

The City of Cape Town says it's also still trying to confirm details.

The City's Zara Nicolson says, "At the moment the City doesn't have any confirmation from the national government or the relevant department."

It's the third time in about five years Gyatso has cancelled a trip to the country because he's been denied a visa.

Government's decision not to initially grant him a visa sparked international uproar and widespread condemnation five year ago.