The Democratic Alliance (DA) has accused President Jacob Zuma of unleashing a "monster" when he allowed axed ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema to stir up division in South Africa.
"...When the President's allies allowed Malema to roam the country stirring up division and chaos, they unleashed a Frankenstein monster," DA Parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
She was one of several DA leaders speaking at the party's provincial congress.
"The deployment of Malema at [the last ANC conference in] Polokwane five-years-ago was no accident," she said.
"Their [the ANC's] problem is that the Frankenstein monster now wants to devour them. A party will always be judged by the leaders it produces."
Mazibuko was referring to Malema's recent visits to several mines where he urged workers to remain defiant against their employers and government.
Last month, 34 striking workers at Lonmin's Marikana mine were shot dead by police and 78 were injured. Workers were demanding a wage increase of R12,500.
Last week, Malema told striking miners at Goldfields near Carletonville not go return to work until their demands were met.
He also called on a national strike to take place once a week every month.
This week, Malema also visited SA National Defence Force soldiers in Lenasia, who are facing disciplinary action for a protest at the Union Building in 2009. Malema criticised government and accused it of ignoring the needs of SANDF members.
DA spokesman Mmusi Maimane told the Free State congress that the current wave of violence by miners was the product of a war between Zuma and Malema.
"It is pretty obvious that there is now open warfare between President Zuma and Julius Malema. It's all about power, it's all about their egos and South Africans are caught in the middle," he said in a speech prepared for delivery.
"What is particularly disconcerting, is that Julius and his backers are willing to put the stability of the country and its economy at risk simply to score political points for [the ANC conference in] Mangaung."
Maimane said Zuma should blame himself for Malema's behaviour.
"By not delivering on his promises, by not showing decisive leadership, by dodging accountability and by taking the country in the wrong direction President Zuma has created a vacuum for Julius Malema and his backers to cause havoc.
"They [ANC] are willing to sacrifice years of economic progress in their own pursuit of power. What power does Julius Malema have to change people's lives? What influence does he have? What office does he hold? None."
Zuma told MPs in Parliament this week that action would be taken against those suspected of inciting violence.
He said it was not just the striking miners who were engaged in such "unacceptable" activity.
"It is also some people of some description who are going there to instigate miners to operate in a particular way," Zuma said at the time.
"It can not be accepted. And therefore we are looking into that; we are going to be acting very soon."
Suspended ANC Youth League spokesman Floyd Shivambu said economic freedom fighters were not intimidated by Zuma.
"If he thinks that we are intimidated by threats to take action, he must know that we are not," he said on Thursday.
Whatever action is taken should be legal, warned Shivambu.
On Friday, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe announced that government will not tolerate the violence, threats and intimidation taking place in the mining sector.
He announced that measures would be put in place to ensure the mining situation was brought under control.
These included that "illegal gatherings, the carrying of dangerous weapons, and incitement, as well as threats of violence against anyone in the affected areas, will be dealt with accordingly".
On Saturday, the congress also heard that the ANC's ability to govern was collapsing.
"A political movement with such a proud history of fighting injustice, which has had the privilege of being directed by some of the great leaders of world history -- has lost its moral compass," DA leader Helen Zille said.
"The human rights that people like [former ANC presidents] Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu fought for under apartheid are a distant memory under the ANC of Jacob Zuma."
She said the internal war in the ANC in the lead-up to its elective conference revealed the party's "true colours".
"Now, the ANC is a collection of warring factions, all desperate to entrench their personal power, abusing the name of the people, using the state as a vehicle for patronage to reward those who keep them in power,"she said.
"For the ANC, it is not about the people or the country, it is about staying in power at all costs."