Uncertainty over whether Dalai Lama will attend Archbishop Tutu’s funeral

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International Relations Minister, Naledi Pandor says she’s not aware of a visa application for Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, to attend Archbishop Emeritus, Desmond Tutu’s funeral.

The two close friends co-authored a book on joy and world peace in 2016.

China has taken a hard line on the issue of Tibet and the exiled Dalai Lama over the decades. He was denied a visa to attend Tutu’s 80th birthday celebration in 2011.

Tutu called out the government in 2011 after the Dalai Lama was denied permission to attend his birthday party.

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Minister Pandor, who came to pay her respects to Tutu’s family, says she’s not aware of any request for a visa application for the Dalai Lama, adding that her department does not deal with visas.

“Foreign affairs does not prohibit a person from entering the country. People apply for visas through Home Affairs and its dealt with as an immigration matter solely. We have not been approached for any protocol assistance. We are not aware of anyone who will be attending the funeral on Saturday and there had not been any request directed to my department,” says Pandor.

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba of Cape Town announced some changes to plans ahead of the Arch’s funeral on Saturday. He says Desmond Tutu’s body will now lie in state on Thursday and Friday.

“The lying in state over two days is also trying to cover those (Sotho) to says farewell the Arch. He will lie in state from 7am to 7pm, also on Friday from 7am till 7pm. So, that is the change that has come by and I think it is sensible, but it’s better to be prudent and be prepared just in case as some say, we might have a stampede.”

A group of clergy arrived at the house to pay homage to one of their own.

Professor Peter Storey, who was once the President of the Council of Churches while Tutu served under him as the Secretary-General, says the world has lost a reputable leader.

“Throughout the world, there are people saying this man, small in stature, but had a heart which is embracing every person who’s suffering, every oppressed person, every poor person, every person struggling with pain of guilt or shame, every person living under a cruel regime. Everywhere in the world people are saying, our champion has left us.”

Memorial services are planned throughout the country for Wednesday and Thursday.

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