JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu says the country’s governing ANC party is worse than the apartheid regime for delaying on issuing the Dalai Lama a visa.

Tutu addressed a nationally televised news conference Tuesday, hours after the Dalai Lama’s office said the Tibetan spiritual leader was calling off a visit to South Africa because he did not expect to get a visa.

Tutu had invited the fellow Nobel Peace laureate to South Africa to attend his 80th birthday party festivities.

South African foreign ministry officials have denied accusations they were bowing to pressure from China, which accuses the Dalai Lama of being a separatist.

The Dalai Lama insists he is only seeking increased autonomy for Tibet, the homeland from which he has been exiled since 1959.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.