09/04/2018 06:23 BST | Updated 09/04/2018 06:23 BST

ANC In KwaZulu-Natal Denies 'Breakaway' Campaign

The party has dismissed reports that Jacob Zuma's supporters are planning to break away from the party as part of a propaganda campaign.

Rogan Ward / Reuters
Sihle Zikalala.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has denied reports that supporters of former president Jacob Zuma are holding secret talks to break away from the party, IOL reported. At the weekend, the Sunday Times reported that Zuma's supporters want to get rid of President Cyril Ramaphosa and campaign to draw votes away from the ANC nationally next year.

ANC KZN interim committee coordinator Sihle Zikalala said on Sunday that the report was part of a "propaganda campaign" aimed at sowing division in the party.

"Many people would want to launch an offensive against the ANC using propaganda and divisive methods to undermine cohesion in the ANC. It is important for members of the ANC to close ranks and rise to the occasion... and be able to face the opposition and win support of the masses.

"No one will support the ANC when it's divided; that is why the leadership, led by President Ramaphosa, have been advocating unity. So these are just rumours... we cannot play into the hands of those spreading rumours. I haven't heard of anyone in KwaZulu-Natal proposing to vote for anyone else except consolidating unity and ensuring support for ANC come [the 2019] general elections,'' he reportedly said.

According to the Sunday Times, Zuma's supporters are considering partnering with Black First Land First, led by Andile Mngxitama, and a close ally of Zuma's and president of the Twelve Apostles Church has formed a new political party with Zuma's blessing.

Church leaders reportedly met on Saturday and a letter to the ANC, informing the party of the decision to launch a new party, was read out. The plan is, reportedly, to punish the ANC in the polls nationally by voting for another party, while voting for the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal.

Zikalala said it was important for the party to unite behind Ramaphosa, according to eNCA, and said there were no "rebels" in the province.

"And to unite the ANC we need to unite structures, we need to unite behind the elected leadership that was elected in the last 54th national conference as led by President Ramaphosa. We need to unite on the programmes and priorities spelt out by the conference and those programmes are unity, organisational renewal, it's radical economic transformation. And that is what we are doing and that is what the leadership nationally is leading us on.

"We are not rebels, we are members of the ANC and those who want to portray us as rebels will do so at their own peril because we believe we should remain loyal to the leadership and the organisation. We have worked with the current leadership in various capacities in different times," he reportedly said.