Congress of the People (Cope) president Mosiuoa Lekota, pictured, has insisted that his leaving the ANC with other leaders and forming a breakaway party had nothing to do with the recalling of former president Thabo Mbeki.
Addressing about 1 000 people - where 10 000 had been expected - in Umlazi's Griffiths Mxenge Hall amid armed policemen on Saturday, Lekota said the new party was bound to happen, whether Mbeki had been recalled or not.
"I have been asked whether if Mbeki had not been dismissed would I have left the ANC? It was only a matter of time," said Lekota.
In a clear reference to ANC president Jacob Zuma, Lekota said: "You can't take a former gardener and give him the task of leading a country or a city, simply because he was in prison, fought for freedom or is a comrade," he said.
"We can't be patriotic at the expense of South Africans."
Lekota also took a swipe at public servants - police, nurses, teachers and soldiers who are members of trade unions affiliated to Cosatu. He said this country would never win a war against crime since the police have become politicians.
"Police are forced to join Popcru, an affiliate of Cosatu, which is an alliance partner of the ANC, and that is in violation of the country's Constitution," he said.
Lekota said his party's drive would be to cultivate a united and disciplined nation of men and women who worked hard every day to make SA better.