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Home Affairs confident about Lama visa case

Johannesburg - The home affairs ministry expressed confidence on Monday about an appeal by the IFP and Cope regarding the Dalai Lama's visa.

“The ministry... remains confident of the case it has made against arguments brought by counsel for the (parties),” said spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa.

The Congress of the People and the Inkatha Freedom Party have taken the department of home affairs to the Supreme Court of Appeal, contending it acted unconstitutionally and unlawfully by turning down the visa of the Dalai Lama.

The Tibetan spiritual leader cancelled his trip to the country last year after the department allegedly failed to approve his visa in time.

He was supposed to be one of the dignitaries attending the 80th birthday party of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

During argument on Monday, Appeal Court Judge Robert Nugent asked why a visa application for an international figure could take several months to be processed.

“How many months can people expect to wait?” he asked the department of home affairs' lawyer Marumo Moerane SC during an argument about “unreasonable delay”.

Moerane submitted that the department had not deliberately obstructed the visa application.

If the Dalai Lama had not withdrawn his application, it might have been approved, Moerane contended. - Sapa

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