Dalai Lama Visa Debacle Exposes Weak Leadership

16th September 2014.


During a visit to Mthonjaneni on Sunday, IFP President Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP berated Government for bowing to pressure from China in its unethical and unconstitutional approach to the Dalai Lama.


"They are barring a Nobel Peace Laureate from entering our country. Imagine a democratic country did this to Madiba or to Inkosi Luthuli? We would be outraged," said Prince Buthelezi.


However this is but one in a litany of examples of the ruling party compromising what is good, right and lawful to please its alliance partners, its funders and those to whom it owes political favours.


"We saw Government's policy of GEAR fall by the wayside when COSATU rejected it, and the NDP may well face the same fate," said Prince Buthelezi. "In the case of the Dalai Lama, the SACP made its mandate clear that Government must never allow this man with his 'perverted political agenda' into our country."


Prince Buthelezi was referring to a statement issued by the SACP last week claiming that the Dalai Lama sought secession for Tibet. It refused to be part of 'an agenda aimed at undermining the sovereignty and national unity of China', because, during the liberation struggle, China 'refused to recognise the apartheid agenda to balkanise our country'.


"This viewpoint is riddled with contradictions and ignorance," said Prince Buthelezi. "They fail to appreciate that by telling our Government to bow to China on this issue they are in fact supporting an agenda that undermines the sovereignty and national unity of South Africa."


"Tibet is not seeking secession," he said. "During the World Parliamentarians' Convention on Tibet, in Rome in 2009, the Dalai Lama made it clear that his Government-in-exile is no longer seeking the independence of Tibet, but merely a form of regionalized local autonomy."


More recently, Kalon Dicki Chhoyang, Cabinet Member in the Central Tibetan Administration, visited South Africa and explained the Tibetan struggle in these words, "Fundamentally, it is about a people's fight for its right to exist with its own distinct cultural identity and language within the provisions of the Chinese constitution.  This includes the right to practice their religion openly and without hindrance from the State as permitted in all free countries.  We are not seeking to secede from China."


"China may have refused to recognise apartheid's agenda of balkanisation, but as Chief Minister of KwaZulu I entirely derailed that agenda by refusing to accept nominal independence for KwaZulu. So shouldn't the SACP be urging Government to listen to Mangosuthu Buthelezi? Their politics is often poorly thought-out, yet it influences Government's agenda profoundly. This is a big problem," said Prince Buthelezi, "Government needs to show greater leadership."


IFP Media Parliament