By Tenzin Dharpo
CTA President Dr Lobsang Sangay presenting a memento to Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, President and Founder of Inkatha Freedom Party, in Cape Town, SA on Feb. 7, 2018. photo- tibet.net
DHARAMSHALA, Feb. 8: The Tibetan President Dr. Lobsang Sangay is on his first ever visit to South Africa on a four-day official schedule. The head of the Tibetan polity who arrived in Johannesburg on Feb. 5 met Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the founder and president of Inkatha Freedom Party, along with other South African parliamentarians representing the IFP over a formal luncheon meeting on Wednesday.
“Prince Buthelezi welcoming Dr Sangay to South Africa voiced his great admiration for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his support for the Middle Way Approach and the Five-Fifty vision. He further added that the situation in Tibet is of concern to all and expressed his hope that genuine autonomy will soon be achieved and that freedom will be restored in Tibet,” a report filed by Central Tibetan Administration run Tibet.net stated.
The Tibetan President also had engagements with the press advocating the official stand of the exile Tibetan government, the ‘middle way approach’ as well as speaking on the current status of Tibet under Chinese rule and global dynamics of China as a super power.
“I’m here, in some ways, to remind the South African government of the principles and values on which their Constitution and country was founded. Because of friends around the world, because of support from the international community, South Africa has gained its democracy. So it’s natural for me to come and say, hey, we need your support now as well,” the Tibetan President said while speaking to online newspaper The Daily Maverick.
The relations between exile Tibetan government and the South Africa has been icy with the latter accused of putting economic interests at the fore with China. Since 2009, the exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama who is reviled by China as a “splittist” was denied visa to South Africa on three occasions. Many say China’s lucrative investments in the country is the cause of such cold shoulders from the African nation.
The head of the Tibetan polity who was scheduled to attend the South African President Jacob Zuma’s state-of-the-nation address at the inaugural session of the South African Parliament today. The address was postponed owing to domestic political tensions in South Africa.
The Central Tibetan Administration has one of its 12 foreign missions stationed at the administrative capital of South Africa in Pretoria.