Tutu expects ANC split

(BBC) Former Archbishop of Cape Town Desmond Tutu has said that if South Africa held elections immediately he would not vote because of turmoil in the ruling party.

In an interview with South Africa’s Sunday Times Archbishop Tutu said he would welcome a viable opposition.

He also said African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma should not accept the job of president with corruption allegations hanging over him.

Mr Zuma has been locked in a power struggle with ex-President Thabo Mbeki.

Mr Mbeki resigned last month after suggestions he had tried to influence attempts to prosecute Mr Zuma on corruption charges. He denies interfering in the case.

Kgalema Motlanthe has been sworn in as the new president, with Mr Zuma favourite to take over after elections next year.

Archbishop Tutu’s comments come amid mounting speculation about the formation of a splinter party.

Rumours are rife that the party could be launched before the end of the month, in time to register to contest next year’s elections, he says.

Archbishop Tutu said he was dismayed by the political acrimony. ‘I would be sufficiently unhappy not to vote,’ he told the Sunday Times.

The Nobel peace laureate said he would only vote if ‘there are attempts at healing rifts and people are not into the business of rubbing people’s noses in the dust’.

He also said he would welcome a genuine opposition, amid speculation that disgruntled ANC members could break off to form a separate party.

‘I would think you really need to have a viable opposition… one that gives the impression that it could become an alternative government,’ Archbishop Tutu said.

Speaking about the corruption allegations against Mr Zuma, he said everything should be done to ‘clear this baggage away’.

‘At the moment there is very little accountability,’ he said. ‘The ANC leaders are accountable, as it were, to themselves, and only once in a while.’