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ANC president Jacob Zuma sees no reason to meet with Archbishop-emeritus Desmond Tutu, Zuma's spokesperson Zizi Kodwa has told Sowetan.
"Why should he meet him? We know where he stands. Tutu's hatred for JZ is not new. He was part of an elite mobilised by the former president of the ANC [Thabo Mbeki] to lobby public opinion against Zuma before the ANC's national conference in Polokwane in December 2007, to find Zuma guilty in the court of public opinion."
Kodwa said Tutu saw in Zuma "a devil with two horns and a tail" and could not even get himself to appeal to his own Christian outlook to forgive the ANC president.
Last week Tutu said he could not pretend that he was looking forward to a Zuma presidency.
After that outburst, ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe said they would be willing to meet with Tutu and discuss his concerns.
But Kodwa does not think so. "Why must JZ run after Tutu's forgiveness as if it is the most important thing? Even God would have forgiven Zuma if he had sinned. Tutu's outbursts are consistent with his hatred of JZ that he has been expressing all along."
Kodwa said if Zuma were to meet with Tutu, "it would be in the same way that he meets other opposition leaders".
He added that the Anglican clergyman had cloaked political opinions to create a false impression that he was merely raising moral issues.
Kodwa accused Mbeki of using Archbishop Tutu, Unisa vice-chancellor Barney Pityana, Njabulo Ndebele and other "elites" to try and subvert ANC internal democracy.
Ndebele and Pityana wrote articles in newspapers raising their doubts about Zuma's suitability to lead South Africa prior to Zuma defeating Mbeki for the presidency of the ruling party.
Pityana has since joined the ANC off-shoot, Cope, while Ndebele, a former vice-chancellor and principal of the University of Cape Town, is on a sabbatical at Bard College in the US.
"Mbeki told the Eastern Cape and Western Cape ANC provincial executive committees that Zuma was corrupt. If he can do that within the structures of the movement he could do it with these elites.
"If Mbeki respected the rule of law, he would have allowed the courts and due process to take their course instead of unleashing a lynching mob of elites."
Asked if Mbeki would be disciplined for undermining the party's democratic processes, Kodwa replied: "I'm JZ's spokesperson and do not speak on behalf of the ANC. The best thing Tutu can do is pray for Mbeki."