Thursday's Supreme Court of Appeal ruling vindicates the view that the South African government broke the laws of the country in delaying a decision on a visa application by the Dalai Lama, IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said.
Speaking from Ulundi in Kwazulu-Natal via telephone to a media conference at Parliament, Buthelezi said he was delighted at the judgment.
“All this begs the question as to why the government, in twice preventing the entry of the Dalai Lama to South Africa, would do something so opposite to the will of the people of this country, the values of our Constitution, and all that which is good, noble, and decent in public affairs,” said the Inkatha Freedom Party leader.
Buthelezi and Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota brought the appeal after the Western Cape High Court in February dismissed their application challenging the delay in government granting a visa to the Tibetan spiritual leader.
The court found the case moot, as the Dalai Lama had already cancelled his trip.
Lekota said he was “thrilled that, once again, the rule of law had been upheld”.
He said the Constitution provided Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, and any other citizen, the right to freedom of association.
“If therefore, Archbishop Tutu or any other citizen of our country were to invite a friend to visit them, whether the majority party or the communist person does not like that person is irrelevant... the right given to us under our Constitution is to associate with whoever we choose to associate,” said Lekota.
The Tibetan spiritual leader eventually cancelled his trip to South Africa to attend Tutu's 80th birthday on October 4, last year.
Tutu was outraged and accused the current government of being worse than the apartheid-era one. - Sapa