'You failed madiba and the nation'
Despite persistent calls by ANC president Jacob Zuma for cool heads following the release of tapes revealing external interference with the National Prosecuting Authority's investigation into his case, daggers remained drawn for Thabo Mbeki.
Yesterday Fikile Mbalula, who sits in the ANC's national executive and working committees, wrote Mbeki an open letter in which he accused the former president of the party and the country of "conniving, manipulating people and advancing politics of patronage".
Mbalula went on: "Despite the fact that you were a democratically elected President, you chose to run both the organisation and the country with a cabal which sought to commandeer everyone along your thinking and vision, which at times ran contrary to what the ANC stood for."
He also became the most senior ANC leader to publicly link Mbeki to the formation of the Congress of the People.
"There remains little doubt that the establishment of Cope has your blessings and you continue to encourage them to swear by your name because you do not believe that the ANC can advance the age of hope under the stewardship of Comrade Zuma, and that it will survive without you."
The former ANC Youth League president said Mbeki had failed to build the ANC on the foundation laid by former president Nelson Mandela.
"Mandela handed you a vibrant and united ANC, yet at the twilight of your Presidency, you chose to betray everything that Mandela and those that came before him stood for, struggled for, and laid down their lives for.
In a moment of intoxication with power, you forgot Madiba's wise counsel and allowed our glorious movement to stumble on the edge of an abyss.
Mbalula told Sowetan that Mbeki could not pretend to have been unaware of the scheming that was happening. If he were, then he would have been guilty of failing to show leadership and allowing the country to become a "banana republic".
"He deserved to have been chopped as a head of state. If he had not been recalled then, he would not have survived the guillotine this time," said Mbalula.
Mbalula listed 15 instances in which Mbeki had failed the party and the state so as to advance his interests and those whom Mbalula referred to as his lieutenants. (See box)
"It is a sad day in our nation that one has to allude that your legacy, at its pinnacle, has only brought us shame and disgrace, overshadowing what would have otherwise been a commendable political career. It is not my place to pass judgment, but I am convinced that history will judge you very harshly for what you have come to represent in the latter day."
Mbeki's spokesperson Mukoni Ratitshanga said he was aware of the letter but would not comment on it.