Archbishop Desmond Tutu lamented the ANC's decision to pull out of negotiations with the government to end apartheid.


Archbishop Desmond Tutu declared South Africa ``on the brink of disaster' Monday after the ANC forced the cancellation of multiparty discussions on ending apartheid.

The African National Congress said it would decide today whether to resume negotiations with the white government or to intensify its protest campaign.``Our country is on the brink of disaster,' Anglican Archbishop Tutu said at a prayer service in Cape Town for recent victims of political violence.

The ANC suspended talks in response to last week's massacre of 42 people in the black township of Boipatong, south of Johannesburg. The ANC blamed the white government.

The government denied involvement. Police on Monday announced the arrests of five hostel workers in connection with the massacre.

ANC leader Nelson Mandela on Sunday canceled a meeting today with the government but said the ANC would remain part of the multiparty talks on ending apartheid. However, on Monday the ANC pulled out of the talks, which the other participants then agreed to postpone.

Mandela has insisted negotiations are necessary, but he cannot ignore growing anger among blacks. If the ANC - the main opposition group - stays out of the talks, there is virtually no hope of resolving the country's conflict.

``Today we can truly say that the negotiation process is in crisis,' said Pravin Gordon, a talks official.

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