5 October 2011
When Kgalema Motlanthe was asked by The Star if the government would have granted the Tibetan spiritual leader a visa, had he not cancelled his trip to South Africa, he threw in a carefully crafted YES response, adding that the government was indeed planning to issue a visa to him.
Motlanthe reportedly replied: “Of course, he has been here before. I don’t see why it should be an issue at all.” But the man at the helm, Jacob Zuma, seemed to plead complete ignorance at a breakfast meeting held a earlier in Sandton, when questioned about the status of the Dalai Lama's visa application. Confusing and indeed strange! I mean, the last time I checked, both were still members of the same government.
Anyway, having concluded a recent trip to China, Kgalema Motlanthe denied any pressure from Beijing. Incidentally,China is South Africa’s biggest trading partner.