Published : The Citizen, 2011-10-05
The Congress of the People (COPE) launched a scathing attack on the ANC-led government yesterday, saying it was clear that like the previous apartheid regime, the current government is set to trample underfoot the rights of citizens to freedom of association by picking and choosing who citizens may have as friends and associates.
“COPE condemns the erosion of the rights of Emeritus Bishop Desmond Tutu and the citizens of the country.
We reject with contempt the blatant dishonesty of government that had the Dalai Lama not withdrawn his application they would have granted his right to visit.
This is proof our constitution is in danger from the ruling party.”
Analysts expressed divergent views on the matter.
Professor Adam Habib of the University of Johannesburg said the behaviour of the government was an embarrassment. “It’s a violation of the constitution.
It reminds me of what America did to me. It’s disgusting for our government to have done that.
This is cowardly in the extreme. If it took so long to process a visa application then those officials in the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco) must be charged for incompetence. It’s a service delivery problem,” he said.
Unisa’s head of the Institute for African Renaissance Studies Lesiba Tefo said the Dalai Lama issue has created an avenue for Tutu to express his frustration. “It’s not about the Dalai Lama it’s about the direction the country is taking – corruption and the secrecy bill.
This shows the lack of confidence in the government leadership,” Tefo said.
Tefo said the Dalai Lama debacle has done the country immense damage. “In the global world we appear more about bad things than the good things.
Look at our position recently on the Libya issue and our tirade about Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe,” Tefo said.
Econometrix, economist Tony Twine said China was fast becoming a force in the world with the quickest growing economy. He said China was now SA’s leading trading partner with only 40% of trade coming from Europe with China at 10% slightly ahead of the United States.
“… China has risen to be influential in the world economy.
The Chinese economy is growing quick and doesn’t look vulnerable like developed countries at this moment,” he said.