Page last updated at 17:37 GMT, Thursday, 2 April 2009 18:37 UK

ANC condemns Tutu's 'sacrilege'

Archbishop Desmond Tutu. File photo
Archbishop Tutu has become increasingly critical of the ANC

South Africa's ruling ANC party has condemned Archbishop Desmond Tutu's criticism of the organisation, describing it as "sacrilege".

The archbishop warned ANC leaders this week that "they are not God" and "one day you will get your comeuppance".

The Nobel Peace Prize winner also said he was not looking forward to have ANC leader Jacob Zuma as president.

Mr Zuma is the strong favourite to become South Africa's next leader after elections on 22 April.

His campaign has been marred by corruption charges stemming from an arms scandal.

Prosecutors are expected to make an announcement on Friday on whether to drop the charges.

'Political solution'

"At the present time, I can't pretend to be looking forward to having him [Mr Zuma] as my president," Archbishop Tutu, seen by many as South Africa's voice of conscience, told national radio on Thursday.

Jacob Zuma addresses supporters in East London, South Africa. File photo
Jacob Zuma's lawyers say they have given fresh evidence to prosecutors

In separate public comments, Mr Tutu said: "For his [Mr Zuma's] own sake, I hope they are not going to have a political solution.

"If he is innocent as he has claimed to be, for goodness sake, let it be a court of law that says so."

In response, the ANC said in a statement that the party was "increasingly disturbed" by the manner in which the former archbishop of Cape Town was addressing the issue before an announcement on whether Mr Zuma's trial would proceed.

"This is tantamount to him undermining the independence of the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] and the judiciary which is unfortunate for a person of this stature," the ANC said.

South Africa's trade union confederation, Cosatu, also expressed concern that Mr Tutu "has allowed his passionate personal hatred of the ANC and its President Jacob Zuma to cloud his judgement".

Desmond Tutu has launched a series of verbal attack on the ANC recently, the BBC's Peter Biles in Johannesburg says.

Last month, Archbishop Tutu expressed dismay at the government's decision to block a visit by the Dalai Lama to South Africa, our correspondent says.

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