The ANC says there is nothing vindictive about calling for regional and provincial conferences to be pushed to 2018, after the party votes for its new leadership in December.
ANC spokesperson Khusela Sangoni said the decision will allow branches to focus on their preparations for the national conference.
"According to the timelines we have set, our branches, regions and provinces are supposed to be focusing on preparations now for national conference. So, there is nothing vindictive about it," Sangoni said.
News24 reported that ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe has banned regional and provincial congresses after September 30 –- a decision contained in a memo sent out to provincial and league secretaries on September 5.
He also reportedly gave the go-ahead for branches whose audits are completed to hold meetings to nominate the next leadership.
"He hasn't banned them; he has indicated that all regions and provinces that are unable to go to conference by September 30 should rather postpone those to post the national conference in December," Sangoni said.
"It is just saying, regions focus on this (preparations for national conference) and then those (regional and provincial conferences) must be held as early as possible next year."
Sangoni said there are regions for example, in Johannesburg, that have a three-year term which has now come to an end.
"So, they would now have to convene a congress within the next month or so. [Mantashe] is saying if those are not able to sit before the 30th, let's postpone them to post the elective conference [sic]," she said.
"Branches must now start their preparations for national conference and not be bogged down and sidetracked by preparations for regional conferences...It's not stopping branches from meeting, in fact, it is giving them space to meet."
Asked about the progress of branch audits in provinces like KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape – which were not completed at the beginning of September – Sangoni said "a lot more" regions have since completed their audits.