Former ANC chairman Terror Lekota on Saturday opened the national convention by warning that the country was in serious danger of reverting back to “apartheid-era style” if South Africans did not challenge the African National Congress leadership.

Lekota, who received a standing ovation from the crowd who chanted “Bua, Bua, Bua (speak)” as he took to the podium,  said the current African National Congress leadership was no longer committed to principles of democracy adopted by the country in 1994.

“The current dominant political forces were now determined to abuse power to advance their personal interests,” he said.

The removal of former President Thabo Mbeki, including the dismissal of premiers and other government leaders by the ruling party, was designed to create space for the new crop of ANC leaders so that they could take control of government to abuse state power. The new ANC leadership was determined to use all means to crush anybody who tried to protect the Constitution, he said.

The Convention, Lekota said, was proof that a majority of South Africans were not prepared to watch helplessly as the country was being pushed back to the dark days of the apartheid era where abuse of state power and the use of State resources to enrich a few, was the order of the day.

“We are ready and we will stand up and fight,” he said.