Pray for better services, Tutu told
Mbombela - Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu should pray for better services instead of praying for the ANC government's downfall, says the ANC in Mpumalanga.
This follows Tutu's Tuesday afternoon press conference in Cape Town where he criticised President Jacob Zuma and the ruling ANC over visa delays that led the Dalai Lama to cancel his trip to South Africa.
The Dalai Lama, a fellow Nobel Prize winner with Tutu, was expected to celebrate the cleric's birthday this weekend.
"His prayers might be so powerful that they can overthrow governments, which we respect him for, but, if that is the case, he should channel those prayers to the good cause of ensuring that the people of South Africa have access to basic and adequate services like water, houses, jobs and others to improve their lives," said provincial ANC spokesperson Paul Mbenyane in a statement on Wednesday.
The ANC-led Mpumalanga provincial government is known for organising prayer days to ask God to bring an end to crime and carnage on the roads.
Mbenyane said the party was disappointed by Tutu's statements, but stressed that the ANC supported freedom of expression.
"We believe that the archbishop had gone way overboard on the Dalai Lama visa issue.
"Our belief is that archbishop should understand and respect the fact that visa application matters are between the affected authorities and those individuals concerned and not for the general public" he said.
On Tuesday, Tutu told journalists that he would pray for the ANC's "demise" in the same way he prayed for the fall of the apartheid government, which had a majority in parliament.
"We will pray as we prayed for the downfall of the apartheid government, we will pray for the downfall of the government that misrepresents us... You are disgraceful.
"You have... a huge majority - that is nothing. Watch out ANC government watch out," warned Tutu.
Tutu also added that: "Our government is worse than the apartheid government, because at least you were expecting it from the apartheid government."
Mbenyane said the statements were regrettable.
"It is unfortunate... It is the same bishop who once said President Zuma cannot be his president whilst passing some unfair judgements on him, which we believe the holy book [which we think the Archbishop reads from] prohibits all of us from doing," said Mbenyane.