Calm down, dismissive ANC tells Tutu
Johannesburg - Archbishop Desmond Tutu's attack on the ANC is unfortunate as he is saying things that he knows deep down are untrue, the ANC said on Tuesday.
"It is very unfortunate that [Tutu] before even hearing government's side decided to attack the government and the ANC," said party spokesperson Jackson Mthembu.
"In his anger he decided to be economical with the truth."
He pleaded for Tutu to "please calm down".
Earlier on Tuesday, reacting to the government's "failure" to grant Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama a visa to visit the country, Tutu said South Africans would pray for the downfall of the ANC.
"We will pray as we prayed for the downfall of the apartheid government. We will pray for the downfall of a government that misrepresents us," Tutu shouted at a news briefing in Cape Town.
Mthembu said very few would pray for the demise of the ANC.
"The Archbishop should know deep in his heart that the ANC is doing its best, therefore very few in the religious community will pray for the demise of the ANC," he said.
Tutu said, "The Nationalists had a huge majority. They ate dust," 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."
However, Mthembu said it was incorrect to liken South Africa to the government in Egypt, and that the ANC government and the apartheid government could be equated, he said.
"They are not the same and to say ANC has gone worse...The Bishop knows that's a total untruth".
"[Tutu] has said all those things because he is angry and he is emotional."
"When angry, one is likely to make serious mistakes with utterances... We are not micro-managing government. The issue of the Dalai Lama was not even discussed in our structures."
Mthembu called on the department of international relations to take South Africans into its confidence on the issue around the Dalai Lama, by revealing what transpired so that everyone could be on the same page.
"The South African government has not responded to his withdrawal of his application," he said.
"We therefore request South Africans to hold their breath and calm down until we get a response from the government. It's logical and makes common sense that we don't jump the gun."