The ANC has lashed out at former United Democratic Front leader Allan Boesak, accusing him of joining Cope only after they had rejected his request to be made SA's ambassador to the UN.
Boesak joined the new party in Bloemfontein this week despite being "wooed" by the ANC's top leadership - who he said were worried about losing Western Cape in next year's national elections.
He also attacked the ANC, saying it had "lost its way".
But Carl Niehaus, the ruling party's spokesman, claimed that Boesak had approached them.
"The ANC doesn't operate like that and we're not going to see Boesak coming to us - simply because we are allowing him certain high-profile positions."
Niehaus also denied that the ANC needed someone like Boesak in Western Cape because he was a "has-been" who would not have an impact on the elections.
In another development the ruling party has put their dysfunctional Western Cape provincial leadership under the supervision of the national leadership.
There is concern within the party that it is losing its grip on Western Cape, where a recent by-election saw Cope winning nine wards.