S.Africa 'worse than apartheid' in Dalai Lama visa row: Tutu

4th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Democratic South Africa acted "worse than the apartheid government" in failing to issue the Dalai Lama a visa in time for him to give a planned speech this week, Archbishop Desmond Tutu said Tuesday.

Tutu, who had invited the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader to his 80th birthday celebrations, also said in his outburst that he would pray for the downfall of President Jacob Zuma's administration.

"When we used to apply for passports from the apartheid government, we never knew until the last moment what the decision was," he told a news conference.

"Our government is worse than the apartheid government, because at least you were expecting it from the apartheid government," said Tutu.

"But our government, we were expecting more (that) we would have a government that was sensitive to the sentiments of our constitution."

The Dalai Lama cancelled his trip to South Africa, saying he was meant to leave on Thursday but visas had not been issued yet.

South Africa's government dithered over the Dalai Lama's visa application, declining to say if it would be approved or denied, and accusing the Nobel Peace Prize winner of submitting his application late.

Tutu lambasted Zuma for failing to take a clear stand, and accused the government of bending on its principles to please China, South Africa's biggest trade partner.

"Clearly, whether they say so or not, they were quite determined that they are not going to do anything that would upset the Chinese," Tutu said.

"Hey Mr Zuma, you and your government don't represent me. You represent your own interests," Tutu said.

"I am warning you, one day we will start praying for the defeat of the ANC (African National Congress) government. You are disgraceful. I want to warn you, you are behaving in a way that is totally at variance of the thing for which we stood," he said.

"I am warning you that we will pray and ... we will pray for the downfall of a government that misrepesents us."

© 2011 AFP

0 Comments To This Article