5 Oct 2011

No visa for Dalai Lama for trip to South Africa

9:15 pm on 5 October 2011

The Dalai Lama has cancelled a trip to South Africa, saying the government had failed to grant him a visa in time.

South Africa has denied coming under pressure from China to block the visit of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.

The Dalai Lama was to attend Archbishop Desmond Tutu's 80th birthday celebrations on Friday.

The BBC reports it is the second time in two years that a visit to South Africa by the Dalai Lama has been blocked.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe visited China for four days of talks last week. He made no public mention of the visa issue while in China.

Last weekend, Archbishop Tutu's office accused the government of dragging its feet over the visa application.