As the battle within the ANC heats up, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has lashed out against ANC veterans who criticised those who defended President Jacob Zuma at the ANC's National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting at the weekend.
Zuma survived another vote of no confidence attempt against him at the ANC, with the party saying it was united behind him afterwards. But 18 NEC members wanted him removed at the meeting, including Cabinet ministers.
On Monday, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande launched a scathing attack on the ANC while addressing the central committee meeting of Cosatu. He warned that a "parasitic patronage faction" had taken over the party.
"We need to assist the ANC. The ANC is in deep trouble. There is internal stalemate in the national executive committee. These comrades can't provide leadership to themselves and the alliance as a whole," he said.
A group of ANC stalwarts wrote to the ANC ahead of the NEC meeting, calling for a separate national consultative conference. The stalwarts reportedly expressed disappointment at the NEC for its failure to call Zuma to order at the weekend.
"There is little doubt that the most vociferous support for the president would naturally have come from those most directly involved in the project of state capture and the associated web of factionalism and corruption. This group have yet again shown they clearly place their own narrow political and financial self-interests above those of the future of the ANC and to the detriment of the best interests of the country," the stalwarts said.
In an interview with The Star, Mbalula said the Zuma administration was undoing some of the damage done by the veterans and accused them of corruption.
"We can't be blackmailed by the stalwarts who are filthy and stinking rich, because they benefited from BEE (black economic empowerment). If they have made up their minds to sell out, they must leave the ANC out of it...We won't be lectured by them. They masquerade as people who are genuinely concerned about the ANC, but we know they are not," Mbalula said.
Mbalula was reportedly one of those who defended Zuma at the NEC meeting.
He told The Star:
"We are in fact reversing many wrong things that were done by them (stalwarts). They are filthy and stinking rich. They are masterminds of corruption."
Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association chairperson Kebby Maphatsoe reportedly said the stalwarts should provide proof that those who supported Zuma were beneficiaries of state capture.
"Those who want President Zuma to step down are the ones who are rich. Some of them are long-serving cabinet ministers, they have good pensions," he said.