Problems in the ANC lead to problems of the state, which hamper service delivery, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Tuesday.
"If you have divisions or paralysis in the ANC, those crises are in the state as well," he told the Congress of SA Trade Unions' (Cosatu) 11th national congress in Midrand.
He said the congress should address the emerging organisational crisis, which was particularly evident in the African National Congress.
The ANC was "increasingly wracked by factionalism, patronage and corruption".
Vavi said struggles were increasingly about who controlled the "levers of accumulation".
"Those challenging these abuses find their lives in danger."
There was a growing distance between leaders, including local councillors, Cabinet ministers, trade union heads, and those they led.
As the ANC was the ruling party and the leader of the alliance, its problems affected the government at all levels, state institutions and the labour movement, Vavi said.
"This is a crisis in state... which translates into an institutionalised crisis in respect of service delivery," he said.
He was presenting his political report on the second day of the four-day congress.