East London - In what seemed like an attack on President Jacob Zuma's administration, his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa fell short of saying that Oliver Tambo would have been disappointed by the ANC's leadership.
Speaking at the party's 105th anniversary celebrations in Mthatha on Sunday, Ramaphosa said Tambo, the ANC's longest serving president, not only had an open-door policy, but refused to let factionalism infiltrate the organisation.
"Comrade OR was not a factionalist, he did not work for money, he was not driven by business interests or interests of others. He was driven by interests of the people."
Ramaphosa said Tambo did not fight factional battles, but united the party.
Tambo ‘listened to all’
He told supporters that Tambo's open-door policy was well known within the party.
"Through trying times everybody in the party knew they could go to comrade Tambo and he would listen. He did not listen to factions of the ANC, he did not listen to his favourite people. He listened to all the members of the ANC."
This, he said, was the reason the party longed for Tambo's leadership style.
He added that the party needed to have practical solutions which would ensure its solidity.
Ramaphosa told supporters that while the ANC had made great strides post 1994, it was still battling to overcome poverty, hunger and inequality.
He admitted that mistrust and disunity within the party's leadership was ultimately resulting in a crippled ANC.
"We must have the courage to face the reality that our movement is under severe strain. We must be honest enough to recognise that disunity within our ranks, mistrust within our ranks, the incoherence within our ranks and the organisational weaknesses are undermining our ability to address the challenges that now confront our people."
He told supporters that the party needed to admit that its disunity was presenting a weak party.
"It is only when we are united that we are able to move mountains."
Thousands of party supporters were present during his address.
The small stadium was filled with supporters wearing green and gold t-shirts who cheered for Ramaphosa during his speech.
This year’s ANC birthday celebration was dedicated to Tambo and his service to the organisation.