In January, South Africa’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Fatima Hajaig expressed the following racist and conspiracist view about Jews, at a pro-Hamas rally:
“The control of America, just like the control of most Western countries, is in the hands of Jewish money and if Jewish money controls their country then you cannot expect anything else.”
This morning, we learn that South Africa has banned the Dalai Lama from taking part in a world peace conference, which will take place in the lead up to the 2010 football World Cup.
Ronnie Mamoepa, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, told The Times: “The Government is involved in organising this function and is responsible for issuing invitations. If you have not been invited to a party you cannot say you have been prevented from coming.”
The Chinese Embassy in South Africa has confirmed that its Government appealed to South Africa not to allow the Dalai Lama into the country.
But what can possibly explain South Africa’s stance on this issue?
South Africa is China’s main trading partner in Africa and accounts for more than 20 per cent of Beijing’s trade with the continent. Chinese investment in South Africa in the past two years has grown to $6 billion (£4.9 billion).