Former Mpumalanga Premier Mathews Phosa yesterday likened the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to the old apartheid police agency.
In defiance of a plea last week by President Thabo Mbeki imploring members of the ANC to refrain from attacking the NPA and other organs of government, Phosa railed against the prosecuting body yesterday.
Mbeki said organs such as the NPA were put in place by an ANC government and needed to be respected by ANC members.
Mbeki made his appeal to members of the ANC after Phosa had questioned legislation regulating the NPA.
Phosa told a Workers' Day rally in Soweto yesterday that freedom without justice was hollow and a nation that did not debate became a nation of zombies.
"The current legal framework in which the NPA operates has loopholes that we must close.
"During apartheid a person was guilty until proven innocent and the Scorpions are saying the same thing today," he said. 'There is something wrong and if we do not debate these, we become a nation of zombies. And I do not want to be part of that nation," Phosa said.
He said the nation must remain vigilant at all times and guard against the erosion of their rights.
Phosa omitted Mbeki when he paid tribute to ANC leaders Nelson Mandela, Joe Slovo, Chris Hani and Moses Mabhida for their promotion of a spirit of free debate in the alliance and within the ANC.
Minister of Safety and Security Charles Nqakula said workers who do not belong to Cosatu, SACP and ANC are not good workers.
"The ANC understands the central role that workers have to play in the ANC," he said.
He said there were those opposed to the freedom of workers.
'We need to defend our revolution," he said.