Former finance minister Trevor Manuel has blamed the ailing African National Congress on a poorly-elected National Executive Committee (NEC).
Speaking at the Eric Molobi Lecture at the University of Johannesburg on Thursday evening, Manuel criticised the NEC and alluded that it was mindlessly following President Jacob Zuma.
"The NEC elected in Mangaung does what it is told and there are very few exceptions. It was a product of gross manipulation of membership to branch systems," he said.
Manuel said the "ill-conceived NEC" produced a crisis in the leadership of the party nationally, trickling down to provinces and regions.
"The ill-conceived NEC elected in Mangaung produced at its watch a crisis of illegitimate provincial executives that, in turn, oversaw the elections of poor regional executives and, in turn, destroyed the branch structures."
This has led to branches taking regions and provincial leaders to court, as seen in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, he said.
Manuel lambasted the leadership of the last decade saying that it has ridden roughshod of the ANC constitution.
"If this leadership has little regard for the ANC constitution, what prospect would it have that it would lead an ongoing prospect for the ownership and socialisation of our nation?"
The ANC has been widely criticised by its own members for its inaction in removing Zuma.
Relations within the ANC-led alliance are at an all-time low after Zuma reshuffled his Cabinet twice, without consulting Cosatu and the SACP.
They have also publicly lashed out at him over state capture, the struggling economy and keeping "deadwood and people laced with corruption and scandals" in his executive.