The ANC will probably reproduce "varying shades of the same leadership that has plunged the organisation into its worst crisis in its history" at its upcoming elective conference, warned Save South Africa convenor Sipho Pityana.
Delivering the Bram Fischer Memorial Lecture at Oxford University in the United Kingdom, Pityana expressed his scepticism that the ANC had the ability to "self-correct", according to a statement released on Thursday.
"The ANC we see today is not the ANC I know," he said.
According to Pityana, many see the December conference as the final throw of the dice for the ANC, "and for the progressive, democratic vision that inspired so many of us".
"We should not be surprised at the possibility that the conference may end up being a gathering of powerful pawns of interests that are external to the ANC; interests that may well be agnostic to the preservation of the movement or, even more importantly, the survival of South Africa's democratic project."
He said judging from the nominations currently doing the rounds, the slates coming out of the December conference would be "less of a revolution and more of an accommodation, bound to reproduce varying shades of the same leadership that has plunged the organisation into its worst crisis in its history".
Tested cadres have become a ' hand-wringing lobby on the margins'
"By rejecting previous calls for the resignation of the NEC (national executive committee) and the convening of a consultative conference, the ANC has instead chosen the path of a revolution from the top - a fight to the finish among factions, or a false truce, built on an unprincipled 'unity pact' - that will perpetuate the life of the various divisive factions."
There is a strong perception that the ANC had "become little more than a vehicle for thieves and looters, with only their self-interests at heart", Pityana said.
"They have truly captured the organisation and left many of its tried and tested cadres - once proud revolutionaries - as a hand-wringing lobby on the margins.
"More and more of us are starting to ask whether we will ever again see the ANC in which we grew up, to which we devoted our lives, and for which we sacrificed so much," said Pityana.
"Is the ANC capable of correcting itself? Can it retrace its steps? Can it rediscover itself? Painfully, I doubt it. I honestly do."
According to Pityana the vote of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma was a perfect opportunity for the ANC to introspect, but it's response was tone-deaf to the will of the people.