Many ANC leaders today are "sell-outs", struggle veteran Frank Chikane said on the eve on Nelson Mandela's birthday, The Star reported on Wednesday.
"You can't lead the people if you're corrupt because fewer and fewer people benefit," Chikane was quoted as saying.
"The only way to remain a leader of society is to let the ordinary people benefit from the cake, not the leaders, although they must be taken care of.
"If you want to remain in power, serve the people. If you don't serve the people, they will turn against you," the former director general in the presidency said.
Chikane received a standing ovation after speaking at a colloquium in Qunu in the Eastern Cape in honour of former president Mandela, reported the daily.
He said African National Congress leaders today needed to look at party veterans like Mandela, Oliver Tambo, and Walter Sisulu as examples of good leadership.
"But today, I'm not only talking about young cadres, but old cadres as well. The cadres struggle for power, for control of tenders.
"Once compromised, you can't be independent in your thinking. Instead of taking power to the people, they're taking the power for themselves... Once you're compromised, you sell out the nation," Chikane said.