Ill-disciplined ANC members, the party's youth league and Cosatu received a tongue-lashing from secretary-general Gwede Mantashe at the ANC's national conference in Mangaung on Sunday.
He warned of "splinters" breaking away from the African National Congress that could "reduce the weight of the movement".
Mantashe told the ANC's 53rd elective conference in Mangaung in the Free State "serious offences" had been committed against the party.
Mantashe was mostly well received by the audience who sang songs in his support. A few small pockets of people rolled their hands to call for change while he was speaking.
"Some people say nothing has changed since 1994," said Mantashe. "You say 'this ANC' [is worse]. You are 25 and 30, which ANC do you know?"
The Congress of SA Trade Unions was one of those culprits, he said.
He said when Cosatu spoke out against the ANC and said the current government was the same as the apartheid one, it had an impact.
Mantashe criticised Cosatu for focusing too much on the ANC.
"We made an observation that half of the time it gets too pre-occupied with analysing the ANC and not on its own internal analysis."
On the ANC Youth League, Mantashe said it was acting in a similar manner to forces who were against the party.
"The ANCYL is a body of opinion within the ANC. Therefore it must complement and supplement the ideas of the movement.
"In the public eye it makes the ANC... look like its tailing behind the ANCYL," Mantashe said.
One of the reasons why the party took action against expelled ANCYL leader Julius Malema, was because of his utterances against the party, said Mantashe.
If the ANC did not pay attention to discipline, the movement would "bleed to death", he warned.
"Factions have given themselves names in different provinces...
"Therefore factionalism had led to the virtual collapse of discipline in some ANC structures."
He bemoaned the fact that a Democratic Alliance mayor had been voted into power in Tlokwe in the North West, which is an ANC-led municipality.
"You go to Tlokwe, Potchefstroom [in the North West], where the ANC is a majority party," he said.
"But now they have handed leadership over to the DA [Democratic Alliance]."
Mantashe said ill-discipline at a local level was impacting the party's standing in municipalities.
"There is a general decline in organisational discipline," Mantashe told delegates.
"An overwhelming number of [disciplinary] cases involved public representatives at municipalities. We need to raise political awareness at the local government level."
He criticised those who leaked information to the media, and said those who disagreed should rather talk to each other.
When electing a new leader, delegates should vote with the party's best interests at heart and not expect anything in return.
"Focus... must be on deeper democracy and appreciate that the elective conferences are part of the democratic tradition of the ANC.
"The focus should never be on personality, it should be on sharpening that tool," said Mantashe.