“The ANC has been captured by a dominant faction, which is clearly not ANC,” he added.
Mbeki said rot had infested the ANC as a whole.
He warned the governing party not to distance itself from the leadership of the Struggle veterans and stalwarts, who gathered at the national consultative conference over the weekend in Joburg.
“What do we do to liberate the ANC from a dominant group that is in fact not ANC?” he asked.
Mbeki said the conference declaration should be distributed to all ANC members.
“What is it that we need to do to pursue the decisions of the national consultative conference?” he asked.
He declared the “age of hopelessness” over.
Read more: Mbeki: ANC MPs must put voters first
The conference, which was shunned by the ANC, was also attended by former deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, former finance minister Trevor Manuel, ANC national executive committee (NEC) member Derek Hanekom and presidential hopeful, Lindiwe Sisulu, among others.
Mbeki slammed the ANC NEC for not recognising the consultative conference.
“The NEC, I think, has done itself and the rest of the ANC a great disservice by disassociating itself from the leadership gathered here. Obviously, it was the wrong decision, and I trust there are people within the ANC NEC who can think for themselves,” he said.
The stalwarts and veterans also reiterated their call for President Jacob Zuma to step down.
In their strongly worded declaration, they said: “We will not allow the ANC to die under our watch.” They said they were deeply hurt by what they regarded as a betrayal of people’s long-standing support and trust of the ANC.
“We are deeply troubled by the abandoning of the ANC’s historic values and principles, which has undermined popular confidence in the government, Parliament, state-owned enterprises and other public institutions,” the declaration read.
“We are witness to the moral degeneration in society that is overseen by a self-centred, non-caring leadership that lacks honesty, integrity and a vision for the future.
They said the current leadership of the ANC was paralysed and unable to deal with corruption as well as incompetence and ill-discipline in the ranks of the party.
The mismanagement of the economy had led to “unprecedented” unemployment rates and that the “appalling” state of education at all levels continued the marginalisation of significant sections of society”, they said.
The leadership crisis in the ANC had led to systematic looting of public resources, unparalleled capture of state institutions for corrupt purposes and deplorable instances of assassinations due to political infighting, the stalwarts declared.
Corruption had to be rooted out of all levels of government, they said, adding that ill-gotten money must be recovered to cover developmental projects.
ANC branches had fallen prey to gate-keeping by factions seeking political office to plunder state resources, the stalwarts said.
“In short, the ANC has relinquished its leadership of society and plunged itself into an untenable political crisis of proportions too serious to ignore.
“This development represents a danger to all South Africans who love justice and who desire rapid progress towards a better life for all,” the declaration noted.
Former communications minister Sphiwe Nyanda also lashed the ANC leadership, asking why they had ignored their veterans.
The Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) veteran said many in the leadership of the ANC were “irredeemable”.