The Internationals Relations Department has begun processing the visa application of Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. The development follows a statement by the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre that numerous attempts to get a response from government regarding a visa have been unsuccessful.
Spokesperson for the department, Clayson Monyela, says all outstanding documents relating to the Dalai Lama's visa application have now been submitted.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has invited the Dalai Lama to his 80th birthday celebrations in Cape Town on October 7. The Dalai Lama is due to give a lecture as part of events to celebrate Tutu's birthday.
Uncertainty over the visa is causing deep anxiety to the Archbishop and the Dalai Lama
In 2009, Tutu criticised South Africa's barring entry to his fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate to attend a peace conference in Johannesburg, with the government saying that it did not want to jeopardise relations with China. Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane later said that the Dalai Lama was free to visit the country and that the decision had been poorly communicated.
The Dalai Lama, who in July said he hoped to go to South Africa for Tutu's birthday, has lived in exile in India since 1959 when he fled an abortive uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet. He says he wants better treatment for Tibetans and accepts Chinese rule, but Beijing accuses him of being a "splittist" and opposes his regular meetings with foreign leaders.