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ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe has dismissed reports that the ANC was plagued by conflict over positions and power.
Mantashe says leadership contestation is part of the democratic process and should not be reduced to bickering.
"If we reduce leadership contestation to bickering then we are killing democracy within the party," Mantashe told Sowetan yesterday.
He was reacting to reports that the public spat between the SACP and some ANC leaders - as well as the ANCYL - was about positions and power.
In an interview with Sunday Independent, ANC NEC member Winnie Madikizela-Mandela said the "bickering was all about positions. It is about who will be on the list in 2012".
Mantashe acknowledged that there could be individuals who were using the ANC as a platform to acquire power and wealth, but said that was not part of the general trend within the ANC.
"The party was driven by a developmental agenda which its membership was committed to. They had the right to elect the leaders they thought were suitable to lead them," said Mantashe.
Mantashe also said the ANC was reviewing its deployment policy to ensure that there was a balance between political integrity and competence.
Political commentator Shadrack Gutto yesterday said it was natural that there should be contestation for control in an organisation like the ANC.
But he warned the ruling party the ANC has also attracted "political careerists who will fight for positions and power because they knew no other life other than politics".
Gutto said as the ruling party the ANC had not only become "the employer but also the employment agency for positions in government, public institutions and even in the private sector".
Meanwhile, Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale has denied that there is a clash between him and Mantashe.
Last week Sexwale presented a report to the ANC NEC blaming Mantashe for failing to intervene when SACP delegates at the party's conference in Polokwane booed ANCYL president Julius Malema.
The booing is considered part of the spat between communists and nationalists in the ANC.
The nationalists, of which Malema is the face, want to replace Mantashe with Fikile Mbalula in 2012.