With a year to go until the ANC elects the next person to succeed its president, Jacob Zuma, the ruling party finds itself having to deal with slates already being circulated.
A slate is a list of six candidates that members are urged to vote for to fill the party's top positions. The ANC called for an end to the use of it since 2007, saying they cause divisions within the organisation. During the party's Polokwane and Mangaung electoral conferences, the top six selected for different slates caused major divisions and infighting.
The ANC in Gauteng on Wednesday rebuked an alleged slate currently making rounds with the names of provincial chairperson Paul Mashatile and his deputy, David Makhura, as candidates for the National Executive Committee (NEC).
"The ANC Gauteng provincial working committee (PWC) has noted with concern the circulation of lists by faceless people with names of comrades who are punted as candidates for the ANC NEC at the 54th national conference in 2017. These lists maliciously have names of our provincial chairperson comrade Paul Mashatile and provincial deputy chairperson comrade David Makhura. The two comrades have distanced themselves from these lists," provincial secretary Hope Papo said in a statement.
The issue of slates has been controversial with numerous political parties. In 2014, the Economic Freedom Fighters' Andile Mngxitama left the organisation when delegates voted in leaders based on a slate. Many delegates were not happy with the process, and claimed the voting was influenced by top leaders.
Papo said at their scheduled fortnightly meeting on Monday that the PWC assessed the political situation facing the organisation and revolution.
"The PWC strongly condemned the circulation of these divisive lists as a form of factionalism and promotion of slate politics, which were condemned by the 12th ANC Gauteng provincial conference in October 2014 and the 2015 ANC National General Council (NGC). The PWC further reiterates the position on factionalism adopted at the 2010 ANC National General Council that 'those who engage in such activities are in fact undermining the organisation and its work and at worst, are undermining the unity of the organisation'," he added.
Papo maintained that no constitutional structure of the organisation in Gauteng had started to discuss the issue of leadership for the coming 54th national conference.
"These discussions will be conducted in a disciplined fashion and will seek to achieve unity and cohesion within the organisation."
The top positions within the party are expected to be hotly contested in 2017. Those vying for the positions have not yet put their hands up, but speculation has been rife that Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and African Union chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma will go head-to-head for the presidency. That, however, does not mean it is a done deal between the two, as the party's treasury general, Zweli Mkhize, and national chairperson Baleka Mbete have also been linked with the position.