We will pray for ANC's downfall - Tutu
Cape Town - South Africans will pray for the downfall of the ANC like they did with the apartheid government, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said in Cape Town on Tuesday, during a news briefing on the government's failure to grant the Dalai Lama a visa.
The Dalai Lama was invited to attend the birthday celebrations of Tutu, a friend and fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Tutu, often described as the country's conscience, shouted: "We will pray, as we prayed for downfall of [the] apartheid government, we will pray for [the] downfall of a government that misrepresents us."
Barely concealing his fury, Tutu repeatedly told ANC leaders to "watch out" and warned them about becoming too complacent after winning every election since 1994 with large majorities. He indicated they could face the fate of Arab dictatorships.
"The Nationalists had a huge majority. They ate dust," Tutu said while shaking his finger.
He said the ANC had a large majority, but so did former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, both of whom were overthrown in popular uprisings.
"Mubarak had a large majority. Gaddafi had a large majority. Watch out. I am warning you. Watch out."
Tutu said South Africa was helped by the international community to overcome apartheid.
"People were opposed to injustice and oppression and people believe that we South Africans would be on the side of those who are oppressed. Tibet is being oppressed," he said.
"People who supported us in our struggle... those people are weeping. They are saying South Africa, it can't be.
"Our government, representing me, says it will not support Tibetans who are being oppressed viciously by the Chinese."
“May I just remind you - the minister of international relations and co-operation [Maite Nkoana-Mashabane] two years ago said the Dalai Lama can come anytime.
“She was being very, very, economical with the truth or she didn’t know her work.”
‘No outside pressure’
South Africa has denied there was any outside pressure on the visa application, and international relations spokesperson Clayson Monyela insisted that normal procedures were followed.
"Unfortunately he's decided to pull out of the trip, which is his decision, and we have noted that decision," Monyela said.
But Tutu said: "Clearly, whether they say so or not, they were quite determined that they are not going to do anything that would upset the Chinese."
Tutu also had strong words for President Jacob Zuma.
He said he once listened to one of Zuma's State of the Nation speeches as the president paid tribute to everyone, apart from religious leaders, in bringing about democracy.
"I listened to this president paying tribute to all kinds of people who had helped bring about democracy in this country," Tutu said.
"This president did not mention a single religious leader. Let the ANC know that they cannot airbrush us out."
‘You don’t represent me’
"Hey Mr Zuma, you and your government don't represent me. You represent your own interests.
"One day we will be praying for the defeat of the ANC government. You are disgraceful. You have... a huge majority – that is nothing. Watch out ANC government. Watch out!”
Tutu said former president Nelson Mandela once told the United States not to tell him how to choose his friends when he was challenged about South Africa's close ties with Cuba.
"When you think Madiba [was] able to say to [the] most powerful country, look you don't choose our friends for us... To say that to the US about Cuba, it takes something, but he did and they did nothing. If anything, their respect for him grew."
Tutu said he would not invite the Dalai Lama to South Africa again.
"I don't think I would put him through this kind of thing again," he said.