Buthelezi takes further steps on visa row

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi has approached the Constitutional Court to force the government to grant a visa to the Dalai Lama, the party said.

IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi has approached the Constitutional Court to force the government to grant a visa to the Dalai Lama, the party said.

Buthelezi yesterday approached the highest court in the land for leave to appeal a high court decision dismissing his urgent application to obtain a visa for the spiritual leader.

This followed government denying the Dalai Lama a visa last month to attend a peace conference aimed at finding ways of using soccer to fight racism and xenophobia ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cup in the country.

Government felt his presence would draw the world's attention from World Cup preparations, although some observers felt it was not to tarnish trade relations with China.

The conference has since been indefinitely postponed as key participants pulled out in protest over government's decision.

The high court in Cape Town rejected Buthelezi's urgent application to secure a visa for the Dalai Lama, finding that the matter was not urgent since the peace conference to which the Dalai Lama and other Nobel laureates were invited had been cancelled.

Buthelezi yesterday said the high court had "erred" when it said the matter was not urgent.

In his court papers, the IFP statement reads, he says the matter was urgent and the violation of the relevant fundamental rights was serious enough. - Sapa

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