Dalai Lama review application fails
3 Feb 2012Attempts by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi and Mosiuoa Lekota to bring an application to review and set aside government’s conduct in the visa application by the Dalai Lama failed.
The application was brought against the Minister of Home Affairs, the Director-General of the Department of Home Affairs, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, and the Director-General of that Department. Judgment was delivered at the Cape High Court today by judges Baartman and Davis.
The Dalai Lama, who resides in Dharamsala, India, intended to visit South Africa from the 5th to the 15th of October 2011. He subsequently withdrew his application for a visa. In this litigation, the applicants had asked the court to find that the refusal to grant the application should be reviewed and set aside and that the conduct of the Ministers of Home Affairs, International Relations and Cooperation, and that of their Directors-General, should be declared inconsistent with the constitution. They also averred that the decision to refuse the visa, was unreasonable and unlawfully delayed.
The court found that as the Dalai Lama withdrew his application on the 4th of October 2011, there was no longer an “existing or live controversy which should exist if the Court is to avoid giving advisory opinions on abstract propositions of law”.
The withdrawal of the visa application, the absence of the Dalai Lama as an applicant in the matter, the fact that the events that the Dalai Lama had intended to attend had already taken place, and the absence of his response to an alleged “new invitation” are factors which influenced the court in making the decision to declare the matter moot and to refuse the application made by Buthelezi and Lekota.
The two client departments were represented by the State Attorney in Cape Town and private counsel. Costs were ordered against Buthelezi and Lekota.
Whilst we would not stand in the way of anyone who wishes to take government to court if they harbour suspicions that government decisions must be reviewed, doing so must be pursuant to a just cause or tangible outcome. This litigation, based on the facts and circumstances of the case, was not intended to serve any useful purpose. We are pleased with the outcome of this case.
Cell: 082 333 3880
Issued by: Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
3 Feb 2012
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