United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said on Thursday South Africans could no longer pin their hopes on the ANC and its presidential hopefuls.
"These three or four presidential hopefuls have been protecting President Jacob Zuma and defending the caucus. Now they want to be the president. Give me a break, please," said Holomisa.
Holomisa was speaking at the Sandton Convention Centre at the Daily Maverick's The Gathering, which discussed the upcoming ANC elective conference. He was part of a panel which discussed: "What future, South Africa?"
"Today, as we speak, they are fighting among themselves and unfortunately that infighting has affected the day-to-day running of South Africa."
Holomisa said the situation would continue to get worse if Zuma was not removed in December.
"We will continue to see the lack of leadership at national level."
He questioned why South Africans continued to vote for politicians if they were "sick and tired" of them.
Save South Africa convener Sipho Pityana said December's elective conference was about "putting icing sugar on a rotten cake".
"The ANC has failed to accept that it is corrupt and bankrupt to the core," he said.
He added that South Africans needed to remind leaders "that they are not our bosses. They are our servants."
"If you are going to be led by the kind of people that elected Jacob Zuma, it is highly unlikely that the trajectory is going to change after December."
Pityana said the ANC needed to be punished for what it had put South Africans through.
"The image of Jacob Zuma is the image of ANC no doubt," he said.
Pityana said the damage caused by state capture was enormous and had made South Africa a difficult place to invest in.
"We are going to face a hard time after Zuma is gone," he said, adding that it would be difficult to "clean up the mess".
Professor Nomboniso Gasa said those responsible for state capture needed to be arrested.