ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has read the riot act to the ruling party's alliance partners Cosatu and SACP - telling them to respect the autonomy of the ANC and to give it space to implement its election manifesto.
During the Alliance Political Council meeting at Luthuli House in Johannesburg on Monday, the ANC leadership laid down the rules of engagement and told the left-leaning organisations to butt out of its affairs - including the divisive leadership succession debate.
The meeting was attended by ANC top leadership, national office bearers of Cosatu, the SACP and Sanco.
Sowetan has learned that the ANC delegation sought to reaffirm itself as the leader of the alliance, leading to all three partners resolving that "the leadership role of the ANC places on it the primary responsibility to unite . all the democratic forces".
Recently, senior ANC leaders have accused Cosatu of behaving like the tail that wags the dog - while ANC members in the Eastern Cape and other provinces accused the SACP and Cosatu of taking over the party.
There had also been a battle for President Jacob Zuma's backing - with Cosatu demanding more influence in his government.
Cosatu has also demanded that Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel be given more powers in the National Planning Commission - headed by Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel.