Outgoing ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe says "dirty tricks" plagued the run-up to the party's elective conference‚ currently under way near Soweto.
Mantashe likened the ANC leadership race to the succession battle in the Nationalist Party‚ following the assassination of apartheid founder Hendrik Verwoerd.
He said "history has a way of repeating itself"‚ pointing out that apartheid South Africa took a turn for the worse when Nationalist Party securocrats unleashed a dirty tricks campaign against Verwoerd's would-be successor Ben Schoeman. Instead‚ the party paved the way for reviled securocrat BJ Vorster.
Mantashe's apartheid reference could be viewed as a veiled warning to ANC delegates‚ and the country alike‚ about the implications of the outcome of the conference.
He said: "I saw signs of those dirty tricks as we were coming to this conference and I said 'that is politics'. That is where we are."