SA Communist Party (SACP) second deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila says there is only one faction in the ANC and it stands to "steal the movement" away from legitimate leaders in the party.
"There are no two factions -- there is [only] a premier-league faction that was described as such and had consolidated itself as such... The deputy president [Cyril Ramaphosa] doesn't necessarily represent a faction per se," Mapaila said.
He was speaking on the eve of a national shutdown by the SACP and its alliance partner, Cosatu.
"The faction that exists is the premier-league faction. It is a faction that is seeking to steal the movement," Mapaila said.
"And the participation of [Ramaphosa] doesn't necessarily constitute a faction, otherwise any other available candidate should be called a faction."
The so-called "premier league" is a term coined to describe an alliance made up of the premiers of the Free State, Mpumalanga and North West provinces who were previously seen to be backing the President Jacob Zuma camp, whose preferred presidential candidate is Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
"Contests in the movement have always created more divisions than unification in the organisation. It is important that the approach should be consensus-building rather than divisive slates," Mapaila said.
"It should not be done opportunistically, it should be based on principles, based on the historical reality, and on the practice of the organisation."
Asked whether, come the ANC's national conference in December, the SACP would be backing Ramaphosa, Mapaila said the party would support any leader of the ANC who is elected through a "credible conference".
"We have no problem with him [Ramaphosa]. We wait for the ANC to elect a leader on the basis of a credible conference then we deal with that particular leader irrespective of who the ANC gives us," Mapaila said.
Speaking about the postponed bilateral alliance meetings with the ANC, Mapaila said the alliance partners are considering meeting without the ANC.
"We have had a discussion with Cosatu and Sanco [the SA National Civic Organisation] that we may as well sit without the ANC, and we will invite the ANC to that meeting, whether they come or not is something else," Mapaila said.
The SACP and Cosatu are holding a nationwide strike against corruption and state capture on Wednesday. They have both previously called for Zuma to step down as president.