The government of South Africa’s ruling party, the ANC, has denied the spiritual leader of the Tibetans, the Dalai Lama, a visa.
His Eminence had been invited to celebrate the 80 birthday of his fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
After months of delay, Jacob Zuma, ANC leader and RSA president, put the kibash on the Dalai Lama’s coming to South Africa.
The prestige and admiration that South Africa enjoyed under the leadership of Nelson Mandala, has long evaporated. Under Zuma’s reign, the country’s affairs are guided by ‘realpolitik’.
Buckling under the pressure of China, Zuma kept the Dalai Lama out of South Africa. By doing this, he gave a stunning slap in the face to Tutu. The former archbishop id not turn the other cheek, but issued a stern warning to Zuma that ‘through love, if the ANC continues ceding to the blackmail of foreign countries, a popular movement would arise to bring it down in the same way the apartheid Afrikaans’ government fell. Some dismissed Tutu’s anger as a spontaneous display of pique; others did not.
Zuma’s track record shows that he is partial to anyone who is willing to put money in South Africa’s pocket. Shamelessly, he back Qaddhi for example, and as mediator, he basically threw his political eggs in the Libyan dictator’s basket by backing the colonel’s plan to derail the popular uprising of the Libyan people, in the name of the states of Africa. He failed.
For China, South Africa has the primary materials it needs to fuel its industrial revolutions, as well as a thirsty market for its products. Chinese investment has increased over time as it influence in Pretoria. So, not to ruffle Beijing’s feathers, Zuma knuckled under China’s threats. What could Beijing do had Zuma granted the visa to the Dalai Lama? Very little since for its own reasons, South Africa is important to China.
By barring the Dalai Lama, Zuma has taken a page out of the apartheid government’s playbook. His decision simply adds another faggot to the fires of discontent with ANC rule and corruption and will increase ill ease of financial markets with the war the economy is spinning out of control.