Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu has called on South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) not to drop charges against African National Congress president, Jacob Zuma. Tutu's comments are the latest in a growing war-of-words between him and the country's ruling party.
Archbishop Tutu's most recent comments come on the eve of an expected announcement from the NPA about whether it will proceed with the prosecution of Zuma on a range of charges including corruption and racketeering. Speaking at a book launch in Durban, Tutu said such decisions should not be political.
"For [Zuma's] sake I hope we are not going to have a political solution," said Desmond Tutu. "If he is, if he is innocent as he is claimed to be, for goodness sake let it be a court of law that says so."
The NPA held marathon meetings this week to review their case against Zuma after his lawyers appealed for the charges to be dropped and there has been widespread speculation they would be.
There has been intense speculation in the local media that some of the evidence submitted to the NPA includes recordings of conversations between investigators in the case, and people close to former president Thabo Mbeki, which seem to imply a political motive for charging Zuma.
Some of the reports suggest the calls may have been recorded by agents of the National Intelligence Agency. If true, there is a possibility the monitoring of the conversations was illegal.
Even if the recordings were legally made, experts say it would be illegal for them to be in the possession of private individuals. It is also illegal for NPA investigators to discuss their cases with people not involved in the investigation or prosecution of their cases.
Earlier, in an interview with 3rd Degree, an investigative program on the local eNews Channel, Tutu expressed his anger and sadness at the government's refusal of a visa to the Dalai Lama. Tutu and South Africa's other two Nobel Peace Laureates had invited the Dalai Lama to a conference that would have promoted soccer as a means of fostering peace and combating xenophobia.
The conference was canceled when the laureates and representatives of the Nobel Peace Committee withdrew in protest of the visa denial. Tutu told 3rd Degree, the ANC government has disgraced South Africa and was abandoning the moral high ground it won during the struggle against apartheid.
"You have disgraced us horribly," he said. "I am ashamed at the present to have to answer people who ask, "what has happened"? What are we doing to this incredible place that was so fantastic. I mean during the struggle we were fantastic. I am actually very close to tears."
The ANC and its allies have rejected Tutu's criticisms, saying they are disturbing and despicable.