While President Jacob Zuma's supporters have reportedly pushed hard for land expropriation without compensation to be adopted as ANC policy, secretary general Gwede Mantashe has reportedly come out against the policy.
The debate over land has reportedly laid bare deep divisions within the party, with News24 reporting that heated arguments over the issue have taken place at the ANC's policy conference.
The Times reported on Wednesday that Mantashe said if expropriation of land without compensation were to become policy, it would push the country into "further crisis". He reportedly made the remarks on the sidelines of the ANC's policy conference.
One of the policy commissions tasked with land reform reportedly recommended amending the Constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation.
But according to The Times, Mantashe warned that this was a reaction to losing support.
"... you want to get instant solutions now and win back the support you are losing, and win popularity instantly. And you do things that are extreme. In our experience, every time you do that you deal with issues haphazardly and dig deeper into crisis," Mantashe reportedly said.
He reportedly said people "tend to go to extremes" when factionalism and populism were rife.
"We all agree here we need to accelerate land redistribution. But when you say you must expropriate without compensation, what do you mean, in essence? Do you want land distribution to be as if you are offering freebies?"
Mantashe said this would lead to handling the issue of land "haphazardly" and in a way that is "not going be systematic about the revolution".
News24 reported on Wednesday that there had been clashes between supporters of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, particularly from KwaZulu-Natal, and Mathole Motshekga in one of the commissions. Motshekga had reportedly opposed the proposal for expropriation of land without compensation, labelling it "irrational and reckless".
He reportedly said any changes to the Constitution have to happen within the law.
A source told News24: "The group was unhappy with Motshekga's rejection of their proposal, saying it smacked of racism and populism and he said calls for the amendment of section 25 of the Constitution were irrational and reckless."
Dlamini-Zuma was reportedly in the commission and apparently defended Motshekga's right to speak.